"Boundary Crossed" starts well and keeps getting better. It opens with:
"The third time I died was early on a Monday morning, a week after Labor Day"
The person speaking is Ex-Army Sergeant Alexandre "Lex" Luther. Working the late shift at a convenience store in Boulder Colorado, she finds a couple arguing about nappies in the baby aisle and realizes that the baby the nappies are for does not belong to them. The ensuing fight and its dramatic conclusion pack a punch that sets the pace for the rest of the novel.
"Boundary Crossed" is set in the Old World universe as the Scarlett Bernard trilogy "Dead Spots", "Trail of Dead" and "Hunter's Trail", occupied by vampires, werewolves, witches and nulls. There are cross-over events and characters between the Bernard trilogy and "Boundary Crossed" but, as Lex starts with no knowledge of the Old World, you don't have to read the Scarlett Bernard books first.
With "Boundary Crossed", Melissa Olsen has hit the turbo button on her Old World series. Lex is a much more action-oriented main character than Scarlett is. She starts by attacking two vampires with nothing more than her bare hands and a heavy jar of baby-food and moves on to using automatic weapons and kick-ass magic.
I read the whole book in a day during two (very long) car rides across Germany and the time just flew by. Part of the impact of the book comes from being read by Kate Rudd, one of my favorite narrators. She packs energy into her performance, getting the accents right, keeping the pace up and bringing Lex alive. The rest comes from the character of Lex herself. Melissa Olsen has created a plausible action-oriented main character who also has enough vulnerabilities and enough connections to real life to make her sympathetic and convincing.
The cast of characters around Lex gives a different take on the Old World than the previous books. Boulder is a Vampire town. It has witches but werewolves have been "purged" from the State. Both the lead Witch and the lead Vampire are strong, scary people but neither is monstrous. Lex has an affinity for the Vampire world and quickly becomes entangled in it. Where Scarlett held herself at the edge of the Old World, Lex pushes steadily into its heart.
I won't go into the plot because part of the fun is finding out who Lex is and what she's capable of but by the end of the book, Lex is set up to good deeper into the Old World and to cross paths with the characters from the Scarlett Bernard trilogy. I'm already looking forward to reading about what happens to her.
Click here to hear Kate Rudd reading "Boundary Crossed"