Vigilante Vampire (Bo Blackman) - Helen   Harper, Saskia Maarleveld

 

"Vigilante Vampire" carries straight on from "Red Angel" and seems to be the mid-book in a second, darker, Bo Blackman trilogy.

 

In the first three books, I reveled in the original, quite British, take on vampires, witches and demons as part of the establishment of an alternative modern London.  I enjoyed seeing Bo Blackman change from novice investigator "Dire Straits", through reluctant vampire "New Order", to celebrity independent vampire, taking on the vampire Families "High Stakes".It was a fun ride, by the end of which, Bo was the rising star in the centre of a strong ensemble cast.

 

The fourth book, "Red Angel", was much darker than its predecessors.  Bo's star began to fall. Despite her best efforts, her world was torn apart. The impact of her now-despised fame, her vampire nature, the traumatic circumstances she faced and the deal with a devil that she felt she had to make, turned Bo  into someone harder and less easy to like than the nice but mildly rebellious young woman we met in “Dire Straits”.

 

"Vigilante Vampire" is darker than its predecessor. It opens with Bo, who has cut all ties with her friends and associates, not even letting them know where she lives, going on a merciless anti-witch killing spree. She has become a weapon, aimed by the demon she has made a deal with.

Although Bo does things she would never have considered in the earlier books, I never could never really see her as a "good girl gone rogue killer". She seems to approach her own violence with all the joy of a man swigging spirits he can't stand the taste of just to drink himself into oblivion. There is a desire for a redemption that she believes she doesn't deserve and a longing to reconnect with and protect her friends that is far from demonic.

 

Bo wants to focus her anger on House Medici, the vampires who caused her so much pain, but her demon master points her at finding a missing young woman. This investigation brings her into contact with an anti-vampire cult. The plot is interesting, especially in the view it builds of the cult and it twists and turns at just the right pace.

 

There is a lot of violence and hatred in this book. Bo flips between being self-appointed, remorseless  punisher of wrong-doers and someone who is horrified by the  hate-driven lawlessness of others.  I didn't feel I really got inside Bo's head in this book. Although I was engaged with the events in the story and some of the inidividual scenes were memorable, B0 seemed a bit out of focus.

 

As with "Red Angel", "Vigilante Vampire" has a cliff-hanger ending that has me keen to read the next book.