Title: Crimson Dawn: Hallowed Echoes
Volume One of The Dimenlien Chronicles
Author Site: http://www.left-of-heaven.net/myristica/
Buy Link: http://www.darkroastpress.com/echoes.php
Publisher: Dark Roast Press
Genre: Contemporary, Vampire, Paranormal, erotica
Length - # OF PAGES: 449
Other: M/F * M/F/M * M/M Multiple Partners
Card Rating: – 3
Review by: Kim
About The Book:
The Black Tigress, a rogue vampire shape-shifter named Arina, has escaped her prison and will stop at nothing until she destroys Thomas Hampton, the one who imprisoned her 400 years ago. Hampton, a sly, discreet and wealthy vampire who has found balance within this world, must stop the Black Tigress’ feeding frenzy upon humans in order to protect all dimensional beings from the upset of human discovery, himself included. Denied help by The Dimensional Guild for fear that his membership will make him too powerful, Hampton is left to seek help elsewhere.
At the time the Black Tigress escapes, human fates collide. A spiritual and philosophical bounty hunter, Vic Turner, rescues private investigator Kevin Laredo from being held at gunpoint. Afterward, Turner reveals himself as Redwing, Laredo’s informant, when corrupt cops bombed Laredo’s wife and children to derail a drug investigation three years prior. Turner has felt a strong, secretive attraction to Laredo since that first point of contact and, although Laredo loved his wife deeply, he now feels physical and emotional stirrings toward Turner that he cannot fully understand. Attributing a strong bond of friendship to their connected past, Laredo asks Turner to join his investigative team.
As Turner is introduced at the office, his appearance sends Laredo’s employee and friend, Jonathan Palomino, backward into an all-consuming memory of vampires feeding upon Palomino’s lover, Andrew Shields, 20 years ago. Unable to regain professional focus, Laredo sends Palomino home for a two-week vacation to pull himself together. Receiving a dozen roses and a disturbing note that says Veritan, the vampire who killed Andrew, is watching, Palomino regains focus but not towards work. Traveling to the Vegas desert, he prepares what he needs for a showdown.
Upon his return, Palomino is approached with an odd job offer worth half a million dollars from the Hampton Corporation. During the interview, Palomino learns Hampton’s true identity and Hampton convinces Palomino to partake in a plan that could potentially save them all. As Palomino searches his old journals for answers, he watches his friends Laredo and Turner explore a relationship that reflects his own lost love with Andrew and many questions arise. Can Hampton be trusted? Will Palomino, Laredo, Turner and their team find a way to stop Arina? And will the love of men finally prevail?
Crimson Dawn: Hallowed Echoes comes out of the gate on fire. The predatory behavior of The Black Tigress emerges as an eminent threat to humans, vampires and dimensional beings alike, drawing natural enemies toward the common goal of mutual survival. This compelling story line quickly engages as many mysteries unfold.
The author certainly has a gift for setting the stage, fleshing out engrossing scenes with believable characters and demonstrating well the tensions between them. When the powerful and wealthy vampire, Thomas Hampton, convincingly leverages the past to solicit his enemy’s help toward defeating The Black Tigress, you know the author has laid this intricate chain of events out well.
Interesting too are the characters of private investigator Kevin Laredo and bounty hunter Vic Turner. Each share a past, a budding friendship, mutual admiration and a strong attraction. As each investigates the Black Tigress’ killings, they also explore their evolving feelings. Their interactions are believably endearing, realistically confused, and erotically exciting all at once. I enjoyed watching their relationship unfold from the beginning.
Unfortunately, about half way through, the pace quickens a bit too much, there is a great deal to follow, and the characters that I had grown to enjoy become unnaturally distorted in the shift. The strongest example lies in the case of Turner. Early on, this calm, spiritually balanced and self-aware bounty hunter exhibits compassion and respect for everybody, including combative criminals. When he becomes outraged, violent and self-serving over a disagreement with Laredo, the scene overreaches and leaves me with little confidence in either Turner or his suddenly alcoholic boss/lover before long.
Overall, this novel ambitiously explores the balance of love between mortal men, their beliefs in various gods, and their co-existence among the godless and the undead. Unfortunately, I believe the story’s scope is too broad to address all issues effectively, particularly that of where within society male homosexuality fits.
The author’s compelling argument for acceptance of masculine homosexuality suffocates within a gender vacuum. One might think a male-centric world would best highlight the beauty of male to male love, yet internal questions are not socially inclusive and cannot reflect the world in which such love exists. Excavating masculine homosexuality from the landscape of a larger gay movement presents a lost opportunity to acknowledge the support of gay and straight women alike. In fact, creating a vacuum becomes downright damaging when it highlights Turner, the idyllic gay male character, calling himself “tolerant” rather than “accepting” of others like himself on more than one occasion.
To vilify one minority in order for another to rise up is a failed tactic of old, so why begrudge women in a novel about all beings finding balance? The prominent female characters include a vindictive carnivore, an automaton, a vampire slave and a disloyal hooker, each set within a world of beautiful, powerful and adored men, regardless of species or motivation (aside from one stereotypically bigoted cop). As for females who could be of value, one is already dead and discarded before the story begins and even the gay girl gets a bad rap for being a poor excuse for a man. In a world where men and vampires learn to get along, surely one good woman can’t be a threat.
Given the novel’s grand scope covering the co-existence of all beings via the balance between light and dark, hunters and prey, lovers and the individual, I suspect the author’s intent was far greater than the outcome. Although it was a fun read at the start, without well-rounded characters of both genders, the argument in favor of male homosexual acceptance is reduced to nothing more than a one-sided fantasy under cover of a book. For me, this ending fell flat.
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Filed under: Myristica, Reviews Tagged: | Book Review, Contemporary, Crimson Dawn: Hallowed Echoes, M/F, M/F/M, m/m, Multiple Partners, Myrstica, Paranormal, The Pagan & the Pen, The pagan and the pen, vampire