The year is 1926. Prohibition is in full swing. The Great Depression is only a few short years away. Oh, and vampire clans in The Big Apple are locked in a battle for underworld supremacy. Bet you missed that last part in American History 101, huh?
Lucky for us then that Susan Krinard has put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, if you prefer) and spun an intelligent tale of love and romance, passion and peril in her enthralling Dark of the Moon.
The story surrounds Gwen Murphy, an aspiring investigative reporter pursuing the mystery of a rumored “blood cult” in New York City, a mystery her father had been investigating prior to his death. Gwen’s probe is a dangerous one, more dangerous than she can imagine, but not for the dark and deadly Dorian Black, a former vampire enforcer living among the human vagrants that take shelter in the docks area. He knows exactly what she’s pursuing because it’s who and what he’s hiding from.
The pair’s paths cross when Gwen is unceremoniously dumped into the river by some ruffians as she waited to meet up with a source. Dorian, in an uncharacteristic act, saves Gwen from the murky depths. Why he’s done so is as much a mystery to him as he is a mystery to her. His immediate attraction to her takes him by surprise and makes him fear even more the darkness that lurks within him and that rises to power during the dark of the moon (hence the title of the book). Gwen is an astute observer, notes the darkness but doesn’t fear it as she probably should and vows to help Dorian better his situation and to discover the secrets of her savior, a man she finds herself inexplicably and irresistibly drawn to as a woman.
Gwen doesn’t give up her pursuit of the “blood cult” rumor, however, and soon embroils Dorian, who tries to warn her of the dangers without giving specifics; his gentle inebriant acquaintance, Walter; and eventually Gwen’s wanna-be suitor, Mitch Hogan.
The love triangle plays out against a background of vampire gangland violence, and is complicated by a mysterious faction of vampires and humans who claim to want peace … but are they what they seem? And will Gwen and Dorian find their way to each other between the sprays of bullets, beatings and the secrets and, yes, sometimes lies?
Dark of the Moon is an engaging read to say the least. Ms. Krinard crafts the story well, progresses it naturally and doesn’t reveal too much too soon. The setting of 1920s New York is a new one for me, and a very good one for the story.
Her heroine is a true tip of the hat to the golden age of cinema and the grand female characters (and actresses) of the time. Quick-witted and tough, but ever feminine, Gwen possess an indomitable spirit, one that serves her well professionally, as she works to carve out her career in a decidedly male-dominated profession. Her drive and independent streak, however, doesn’t set so well with the man (Mitch) courting her affections. He’s a decent enough guy but he’s often less interested in loving her than in changing her and availing himself of her other womanly assets. That is Mitch’s loss and the gain of Dorian, who is intrigued by and drawn to her strength of mind, something Gwen instinctively knows and, being the smart woman she is, desires.
Have you read Dark of the Moon? If so feel free to leave a comment on this post and let others know what you think.
Also, if you’d like, join in the Reading Group discussion of Dark of the Moon, which is this month’s pick.