Bloodstone by Nancy Holzner

(Deadtown, #3)

Boston’s diverse South End is known for its architecture and great restaurants, not its body count. So when mutilated human corpses begin turning up in the area, the entire city takes notice. The killer—dubbed the South End Reaper—uses a curved blade for his grisly work. And even though there’s no real evidence pointing to a paranormal culprit, the deaths are straining the already-tense relations between Boston’s human and inhuman residents.

As the bodies pile up, Vicky, her formidable aunt Mab, and her werewolf boyfriend Kane investigate, only to find that the creature behind the carnage is after something much more than blood…

Publishers Weekly says, “Fans of Holzner’s other Deadtown novels will enjoy this solid yarn.”

The third book in the Deadtown series doesn't disappoint. While it doesn't wow me as much as the first, it's a little stronger than the second, and keeps me anxious to continue the series.

Vicky's back home and getting involved with her roommate Juliette's disappearance, facing creatures that are as eerie as some of the demons she's used to battling. It ties in with the second stories arch, bringing in returning villains and introducing new ones. I do hope Pryce's storyline gets resolved soon, though, as he's not my favorite as a potential big-bad. We do finally get to say goodbye to another villain's story that just felt done.

On a personal note, there is no longer a weak love triangle, it's full force back to the man I figured she fit with better anyway. Mab returns as an assistant to her niece's struggles, and she was better than in the second novel, where she just said "child" too much for my tastes. Her bonding with the barkeep and Juliette was awesome as well. She's a powerful ally who has a lot of secrets waiting to be uncovered.

As for the sister, Gwen, I just can't hop on the ship of liking her much yet. She kind of irritates me, but the ending shows promise of redemption for her character. Vicky is an excellent heroine protagonist - she's tough but not obnoxious. She doesn't have a chip on her shoulder, she has a sense of humor, but she still takes her job, friends, and life seriously.

In this world, society knows the monsters exist and they are fighting them through political struggles. The non-hidden but still secluded world is interesting as it's filled with different sorts of shapeshifters, cold vampires, zombies that have been created by a virus but retained their previous personality, and all sorts of demons and monsters that infect dreams. Vicky's powers are clever and original - I like the limitation of three time monthly change.

Overall the subplot could have been a little more interesting this time, but I'm happy with some of the conclusions and continuing with the series. The world is well written and complex, making an exciting and dark Urban Fantasy.