Jeanne C. Stein
Published 2007 291 pages
Summary (from book jacket)
For a newly made vampire, Anna is a hard case. That's why she's become a Watcher - one of the enforcers who keep supernatural criminals in check and deliver just punishment when necessary. But Anna is still fighting to control the raging fury of the vampire within her.
Her self-control is further tested when her lover - a DEA agent - disappears, even as a vampire serial killer terrorizes San Francisco and a Wiccan sorceress plans to raise a demon to do her bidding. Anna wants to jump into the fray, but her Watcher mentor thinks she’s not ready and sends her away for her own safety. But if there's one thing Anna has always been able to find, it's trouble…
The Watcher is the third novel in Jeanne C. Stein’s Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles. For readers unfamiliar with the world of Anna Strong, she is a bounty hunter who was attacked by a vampire while trying to apprehend a fugitive. As a result of that attack, Anna unwillingly became a vampire herself. These events happened in The Becoming, the first book of the series, and since then the story arc through that novel and Blood Drive has developed Anna’s character as she struggles with her transformation from human to vampire.
While The Watcher works well enough on its own as a stand alone story so that you don’t have to have read the previous two novels in this series to understand and enjoy this book I would recommend reading The Becoming and Blood Drive first. It helps to put Anna’s struggle with her newly emerging vampire nature into context.
The events in The Watcher see Anna face her hardest test yet. This isn’t the vampire serial killer that the Watchers despatch her to kill or the witch who wants to raise a vampire-eating demon. It is controlling her own vampire self.
Anna has avoided taking the advice of her vampire mentor and has refused to find one human to feed off and have a relationship with. Her boyfriend Max still doesn’t know that she is a vampire and she has no intension of him ever finding out – which means that she can’t feed from him. As her vampire hunger for blood and sex grows she finds it harder to hold on to her humanity, her animalistic vampire nature asserting itself when she gets angry – leading to her mentor sending her away San Diego after she shows her vampire face during a fight with a fugitive.
Being sent away from the dangers of San Diego is just the start of another round of troubles and adventures for Anna. A trip to Mexico soon sees her battling an evil witch who is somehow also involved in the kidnapping of Max.
Saving the world, saving her boyfriend - the action in The Watcher is non-stop as Anna battles it out against both human and supernatural foes – all the while trying to hold on to her humanity by the very tips of her fingers.
The Watcher is an exciting, fast paced novel that works both as a supernatural mystery/adventure and as a character study of a woman who is forced to make uncomfortable changes due to circumstances outside her control, desperately trying to hold on to the core of her humanity and moral compass even as her vampire nature pulls her away from everything she has ever valued.
First-rate plotting and Anna’s complex character make The Watcher a pleasure to read and with the author planning for more Anna Strong novels in the future there should be more reading pleasure to come.
Recommended vampire reading!
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