Published 2006 328 pages
Vampire killer Candace Steele is still working security at the Scheherazade casino on the Las Vegas strip and still missing her vampire lover Ash, who she is determined to stay away from. He wants her to become a vampire like him and she wants to remain human, so she is avoiding seeing him at the moment.
He can’t be avoided forever though. Candace finds out that there is some kind of con being planned for New Years Eve at the casino and vampires seem to be involved. She goes to him to warn him of the danger that she thinks these vampires might represent to him but has her suspicions that Ash himself might be connected to the vampires some way.
She investigates, determined to try and save the casino’s money and get to the bottom of the vampire plot.
Luscious Craving is the second book in the Candace Steele Vampire Killer series. Like Passionate Thirst the first book in the series (previously reviewed on this site) it has the words “Paranormal Romance” on the cover of the book and I feel compelled to point out (again) that this book isn’t a romance.
You can probably tell from the lack-lustre synopsis that I have written for this book that it is not going to receive an enthusiastic review from me. I hate having to write bad reviews because it makes me feel mean. I shall feel mean and hateful for the rest of the day now and this too is somehow the fault of this book.
The main female character in the book, Candace, has sex with a guy that she meets at a diner (he was sitting in her usual seat which seems to mean she had to sleep with him) she does this after about one page of dialog. Is this romance? She is really in love with Ash, her vampire ex-lover, but frankly judging her by her behaviour it’s hard to tell that. Candace is supposed to be the love of Ash’s life (death / undead life?) but again it doesn’t really seem that they have any kind of deep or meaningful relationship. They have great sex - but that isn’t Romance.
As I hugely enjoying reading books in the urban fantasy genre (usually with a strong female protagonist, some sex and a romantic sub-plot) you would think that I would still enjoy this novel. After all it’s still fantasy even if it’s not a romance, right? Wrong. Even if I ignored the frankly bad romance part of the story and concentrated on the vampire killer / mystery investigation part of the story line I still found this book unforgivably dull. The potentially exciting part of plot, the mysterious vampire Board and their power struggle is virtually ignored and instead we end up with some flimsy casino scam instead.
The characters are undeveloped and one dimensional. Candace is extremely irritating and Ash is lukewarm hero material. The supporting characters are equally ill defined and unrealistic. I don’t understand how a few people know about vampires but most don’t - especially as Las Vegas seems to be teeming with vampires. There are so many vampires in Las Vegas that you think people would notice??
I couldn’t work up any empathy for any of the characters in this story, which led me to not really care whether people lived or died, whether the casino got robbed or the money got saved. The only positive thing I can say about this book is that the simple writing style makes it a quick read, which means that the painful experience of reading this book is thankfully a short one.
There is a third and hopefully final book in this series called Eternal Hunger but I shall not be reading it. As I don’t care what happens to any of the characters in this book it really doesn’t seem worth the effort to find out what happens to them next when there are so many other good books out there. If you want vampire romance read J.R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon or Kresley Cole. If you want urban fantasy read Laurell K. Hamilton, Karen Chance, Patricia Briggs, Lilith Saintcrow or Chris Marie Green. Either way, don’t waste your time or money with Candace Steele.
Summing up - Luscious Craving is utter nonsense. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
LoveVampires Review Rating:
If you want to visit the author's website you are going to be disappointed because there isn't one! There is some mystery about who Cameron Dean really is - rumour has it (well, Google search) that it is Cameron Dokey a YA author but I'm not sure if this is true so please don't quote me on that!