A Quick Bite (Argeneau Family) by Lynsay Sands (book review).

A series of books, especially a long one (the 29th is due to be published this month) has to start somewhere. ‘A Quick Bite’ is touted as the first in the series. It is not the first to be published, it was the fourth. Writing books out of order presents problems.

The first one is making sure that nothing alludes to events that happen in later books. The characters in this series or possessed of many supernatural talents, prescience is not one of them. The reason for writing what is essentially a prequel is to explain some of the factors that weren’t fully explored but were assumed in the volumes that follow it, especially after the author has worked out what they were.

Although this is the first, chronologically in the ‘Argeneau Family’ sequence, it has all the hallmarks of following volumes. Members of the clan are vampires, in that they are almost immortal and need blood to sustain themselves. As these books are paranormal romance, each novel takes a member of the family and follows a relationship until they claim their true life mate. Like any romance, expect doubts and even antagonism until both partners accept the inevitable. Also expect sex.

In ‘A Quick Bite’, the family member is Lissianna. Even at over two hundred years old, birthdays are celebrated with parties. She was born an Argeneau rather than being turned, as life mates often are and is still relatively young. Her behaviour is much like that of a teenager and she associates with a gaggle of cousins, two of whom are actually only seventeen.

Despite her age, she hasn’t really matured. Her mother, Marguerite, has decided to get her a rather special birthday present, psychologist Greg Hewitt. Lissianna finds him tied to her bed. The reason for this gift is that Lissianna faints at the sight of blood, a handicap for a vampire in an age where the council has decreed that sustenance must only be taken from blood banks not directly from humans. Because of her condition, she has an exemption but Marguerite has heard that Greg has a reputation for being able to cure phobias, thus his kidnapping.

The path to true love in novels like this is never smooth. In an attempt to conceal her nature and to be able to feed directly from humans, Lissianna has taken a degree in social work and is employed at a homeless shelter. Her intention is to take ‘quick bites’ from those who turn up for food and shelter. It is more difficult than she anticipated as she hasn’t always been as careful in her feeding as she should.

Her donors don’t remember being bitten as one of the qualities of these vampires is that they can control human minds and wipe memories from them. Father Joseph, who runs the shelter, has become suspicious of her nature and is trying to out her. In the course of this we learn more about her kind. They are unaffected by garlic, holy water and crosses. Silver is an irritation and sunlight can give them a severe case of sunburn. Not even staking is fatal.

Although, the books in this series can be read in almost any order as they follow a similar form, ‘A Quick Bite’ does establish the nature of these vampires. The books won’t be everyone’s choice of reading but if you favour erotic romance with a touch of the supernatural, these sexy vampires are worth a try.

Pauline Morgan

April 2019

(pub: Gollancz, 2010. 360 page paperback. Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-5750-9949-4)

check out websites: www.orionbooks.co.uk and www.gollancz.com

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