I’ve got a soft spot for urban fantasy – so the cover of this offering snagged my attention. But once I opened it and read the first page, I was hooked… Lovering’s delicious humour is sweeter and darker than chocolate.
Jessica Grant knows vampires only too well. She runs the York Council tracker programme making sure that Otherworlders are all where they should be, keeps the filing in order and drinks far too much coffee. To Jess, vampires are annoying and arrogant and far too sexy for their own good, particularly her ex-colleague Sil, who’s now in charge of Otherworld York.
But when a demon turns up and threatens not just Jess but the whole world order, she and Sil are forced to work together, and when Jess turns out to be the key to saving the world it puts a very different slant on their relationship. The stakes are high. They are also very, very pointy and Jess isn’t afraid to use them, even on the vampire that she’s rather afraid she’s falling in love with …
One of the most enjoyable aspects of this book, is that it is set in York – a northern town in England. After having read shedloads of American urban fantasy, it was a treat to see Hobnobs mentioned and relish Lovering’s British slang in Jessica’s sharp, funny exchanges with Sil and her work colleague, Liam. The story isn’t stunningly original – this tale was cosily familiar with the slick, urbane vampire and the reluctant, feisty heroine struggling to stop herself falling head over heels… What makes this book stand out is the humour and sharp-edged British take – think Being Human, compared with True Blood, for instance. There are also some instances where Lovering also drops the laughs and gives us some genuinely poignant insights into the world of vampires. Other authors have also provided plenty of angst around a long-lived creature who thirsts for blood and never ages or dies, but the contrast between the humour and pathos in this book is particularly well observed.
Lovering is a class act and I found Vampire State of the Mind slick, funny and impossible to put down until I’d finished it. I’m going to be looking out for more of her work, though I’ll probably leave it until a particularly gloomy November day, when I’ll treat myself to another slice of Lovering magic – if that doesn’t leave me with a warm glow, the gas fire certainly won’t.