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Watchers in the Night    by Jenna Black order for
Watchers in the Night
by Jenna Black
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Three years after her fiancé disappeared, Carolyn Mathers has slowly been working at putting her life back together. The young detective has quit the force and collaborated with her best friend to open a private detective agency. Her work keeps her busy, but during the quiet moments, Gray James still has a very prominent place in her thoughts - and in her heart. Then one night Carolyn's world is shaken all over again when a young punk accosts her and a very different Gray steps out of the shadows to help.

At first, Carolyn discounts Gray's wild story about being turned into a vampire the night of his bachelor party, but when she's shown overwhelming proof, she must accept his claims. Gray is angry that he didn't have enough self-control to stay away from Carolyn and demands she forget him, insisting that they could never have a normal life together. However, Carolyn is determined to stick by his side and resume their relationship, especially when she discovers that a group of vampires calling themselves Guardians are watching Gray's every move, convinced that he's responsible for the grisly murders of some of their fellows. As proof mounts against Gray and the Guardians close in promising retribution, Carolyn uses the skills she's honed as a cop and as a PI to dig deeper and find the evidence that will clear Gray and flush out the real killer.

Vampires still haven't worn out their welcome in the world of the paranormal romance and likely won't as long as writers like Jenna Black put a fresh spin on the proceedings. The premise of vampires policing each other and Guardians hunting down and destroying those Killers who prey on humans adds an interesting twist to this story. Gray isn't your typical vampire hero either; he's a man who's still angry over his fate and unwilling to join either faction, doggedly determined to live a solitary and shadowy existence without the woman he loves. It's through Carolyn’s eyes that we learn about the rather unassuming man Gray once was and see the angry and volatile man he's become, one who could easily fall prey to the beast within him that, as a fledgling vampire, he's barely able to control.

Black also introduces a well-rounded cast of secondaries, mostly vampires, whose back-stories remain intriguingly vague and who'll surely show up in upcoming installments. Watchers in the Night is a nicely written story, an imaginative and polished paranormal romance and a great debut for Jenna Black.

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