Maggie Shayne started her Wings in the Night series with the Silhouette Shadows line about nine years ago. In the forward to this book she states that she has written a total of seven stories, including this one. I haven’t read all of them, but enough to know the basic outline of her vampires and their nemesis, the DPI, aka the Department of Paranormal Investigations. I enjoyed the short format of the original stories, and though I can recommend this book, it is with the caveat that it is padded to an extent.
Twilight Hunger has two sub-plots that intertwine into one in the end. In one, Morgan DeSilva, a young aspiring screenwriter, has discovered journals of a man called Dante in a house owned by a family friend of hers. The journals consume her thoughts and life, so much so that she can clearly imagine what Dante must have looked like. They chronicle his life as a vampire, which Morgan knows is all nonsense of course. But she is hooked anyway.
The second subplot concerns Maxine “Mad Max” Stuart, who is going to finally discover what the menacing and mysterious government installation she calls “Spook Central” is hiding. A huge fire has consumed the compound, and Max and her two best friends manage to get inside the fence long enough for her to discover and take some computer disks that a badly burned, frightening man has dropped. The next day, Max receives threats from the same man. She keeps the information regarding the covert DPI, which seems to involve vampire investigations, under wraps.
Five years later, Morgan is a successful screenwriter but is dying from her rare blood type, called the Belladonna antigen. In vampire parlance, this means that she is one of “The Chosen,” a person who can become a vampire. Vampires are drawn to the chosen and cannot do them harm (other than turning them into vampires). Dante and other vampires are being hunted by the burned man. He returns to the place where he hid his journals, where he discovers Morgan and is immediately drawn to her. Morgan and Dante seem to have a strong connection as they can communicate telepathically. Dante is determined to find out how Morgan knows all his secrets, but does not want to be drawn any closer to her, as he was betrayed by the last mortal woman he loved.
Meanwhile, Max has been called by her friend Lou, a cop, into an investigation involving something paranormal since Max has been doing a bit of paranormal P.I. work. Max and Lou stumble onto a vampire killing, and Max reveals to Lou what she discovered five years ago. Their investigation ultimately ties into Dante, which is where things get rather convoluted and messy.
I liked Morgan and Dante as a couple, but every time they try and resolve their situation some catastrophe involving the burned man, or Max, or Dante’s auntie Sarafina (also a vampire), etc. intervenes. The interruptions grow tiresome after awhile. Another problem is that Morgan is a hard character to know, as most of what is learned about her revolves around her obsession with Dante. Max was initially a more interesting character who seemed smart and funny, but later in the book she does an about-face and refuses to listen to anyone (except those she shouldn’t) about the reality of the situation involving Morgan and Dante. The mystery that Max and Lou start investigating never ends up with an satisfactory solution and takes off on a tangent.
Although I enjoyed this book overall, the author herself mentions The X-Files in this story and that’s what I felt like I was reading: a crammed-together episode that left tons of strings hanging, some of which may or may not ever be resolved. I have no idea if the truth is out there, to be found in Shayne’s next book.