Smoke and Ashes (Darkest Night, Vol. 3), by Tanya Huff

Let’s see. Monday, physician I reviewed book 1. Wednesday, I reviewed book 2. Today, unsurprisingly, we get book 3. I wish they would make this series into a TV show, because, well, it’s about a TV show, and it’s written in a rather cinematic fashion. Anyway, another recap: Tanya Huff is a Canadian author; she wrote these vampire books that got made into a TV show called Blood Ties; she took a recurring secondary character from that series and gave him his own series. She’s going to be at Polaris (a sf con in Toronto) this upcoming weekend; unfortunately I cannot make it.

Tony’s been promoted to trainee assistant director on Darkest Night, the low-ish budget vampire detective show he’s been working on for nearly a year. (Oh, come on; that’s not a real spoiler.) Unfortunately, since they didn’t replace his old position, that doesn’t mean much. In any case, a stuntwoman named Leah comes in to fall off a building for them, and he sees something weird behind her head — a silhouette of a very large man with antlers. What’s going on? And why is Lee (the ridiculously attractive costar) acting so strangely?

I think perhaps this is the weakest of the three books, as it sort of recycles the idea of demons that Ms. Huff has used before. However, we definitely get a new and interesting view of demons, from the immortal human Demongate, to the method of sending them back to the hell they came from. It’s as if she took the demon from Blood Price and expanded the whole idea so much that it was almost made anew. Of course, readers who haven’t read the ‘Blood’ books won’t notice this so much, but I did.

Leah’s definitely an interesting character. While she’s a bit of an adrenaline junkie, it seems as if she’s mostly a stuntwoman for the money (and the fact that she can’t so much die while doing it). She’s also nearly irresistible to anyone male and attracted to women; fortunately, that doesn’t include Tony, but it does include Henry. There’s a bit of a conflict there; Henry, being a vampire, can also do the immediately-irresistible thing. She vaguely reminds me of Georgina from Richelle Mead’s Succubus Blues, mostly in personality and minor lack of morals.

Tony finally comes fully into his own in this one; I won’t exactly go into how, but among other things, it has to do with his independence from Henry (or, sometimes, lack thereof). There’s also a lovely resolution of all the sexual tension that has been going on for the last few volumes; it made me ridiculously happy. Readers who have enjoyed the first two volumes will definitely want to read this one, to tie up all the loose ends; it doesn’t stand alone at all, but I suppose that’s just fine for a book 3. 3.5/5 stars.

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