by D. D. Barant

April 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-94259-5
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Mass Market Paperback

The second book in The Bloodhound Files series finds Jace Valchek becoming more accustomed to the alternate universe where she currently resides. While she still hopes to return home, the demands of her job as a criminal profiler keep her mind occupied. Working for the National Security Agency of the Unnatural States of America, she has learned to take the preternatural aspects of the job in stride. Of course having a 2000-year-old vampire as a boss does require an open mind.

Jace has to put her primary case aside in Death Blows. Someone has discovered the identity of Bravo Brigade, and has started to assassinate the team of superheroes. Since they have not been a team for decades and their alter egos lead very disparate lives, Jace has her hands full. The team had its share of enemies, but most were neutralized long ago. The fact that the killer knows who they really are limits the suspect pool, but does not present a real motive.

The realization that her boss, Cassius, was actually a member of the group just adds another layer of facts to sift through. He alternately helps and then hinders her investigation when he tries to keep her safe. Is he just looking out for the interest of the NSA or is there something more personal behind it?

Death Blows is a fine addition to the series. Jace has to juggle several different issues involving her new friends, as well as solve the murders. The pace is swift, and the author proves a deft hand at managing all of the subplots without losing sight of the main one. The irreverent, smart-mouthed Jace is a perfect foil for the oh-so-controlled vampires and other species in the NSA. She may be the minority employee, but no one takes her for granted.

Reviewed in April 2010 by Paula.

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