The Vampire Shrink
Published 2007 392 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Denver Psychologist Kismet Knight, Ph.D., doesn’t believe in the paranormal. She especially doesn’t believe in vampires. That is, until a new client introduces Kismet to the vampire underworld, and a drop-dead gorgeous, 800-year-old vampire named Devereux. Kismet isn’t buying the vampire story, but can’t explain why she has such odd reactions and feelings whenever Devereux is near. Kismet is soon forced to open her mind to other possibilities when she is visited in her office by two angry bloodsuckers, who would like nothing better than to challenge Devereux by hurting Kismet.
To make life a bit more complicated, one of Kismet’s clients shows up in her office almost completely drained of blood, and Kismet finds herself immersed in an ongoing murder investigation. Enter handsome FBI profiler Alan Stevens, who warns her that vampires are very real. And one is a murderer. A murderer that is after her.
In the midst of it all, Kismet realizes she has feelings for both the vampire and the profiler, but even though she cares for each of the men, facing the reality that vampires exist – along with all the other supernatural insanity she discovers – is enough of a challenge. For now.
The Vampire Shrink is Lynda’s Hilburn’s first full length novel although it is her second foray into the vampire fiction genre because she has previously penned a novella called Diary of a Narcissistic Bloodsucker (and since that is such a fantastic title for a book I just wanted to mention it!)
The Vampire Shrink is published as urban fantasy and it delivers most of the things we have come to expect from that genre. It’s narrated in first person by the heroine of the story and jam packed full of sexy good (or a least we don’t know that they’re not good) vampires, hunky human men and revoltingly smelly evil villains who all seem to be fixated one way or another on the heroine of the story.
Faced with all this man-candy our heroine, Dr Kismet Knight, psychologist and supposedly intelligent and educated woman just doesn’t know what (or who) to do first. Should it be the ex-boyfriend who humiliated and dumped her two years ago but is now looking mighty fine? What about the oh-so-sexy vampire - or the human FBI hunk? Or the emergency room doctor? Decisions, decisions…
The Vampire Shrink is urban fantasy, and heroines with difficult love lives are all a part of the genre, but usually the heroine is a little less confused about it. Here we have a psychologist worrying that she turning into a tramp at the same time that she can’t help but be attracted to every available man that she meets. Maybe this novel would have been better if it was written as a paranormal romance rather than fantasy, that way Kismet could have felt some kind of emotional connection to at least one of these men.
I really wanted to like this book. The outline for the story sounded both intelligent and intriguing, a psychologist who has to come to terms with the reality of the paranormal and then finds herself attracted to an 800 year old vampire. Unfortunately as a reader I found it difficult to connect with the story’s protagonist Kismet. I wanted to, but ultimately I found her to be somewhat irritating.
Especially vexing was her absolute refusal to accept that vampires exist. This is understandable at first, she is a doctor after all and presumably her professional training would mean that she would require irrefutable proof of their existence before she can believe vampires are real. Annoying then that even after being snacked upon by a vampire, mind-controlled with vampire mojo and witnessing a fight where the participants levitated in the air and snapped at each other with their bloody fangs, she still will not believe. And this was after being told repeatedly by both humans and vampires that vampires really do exist.
There are a lot of good ideas in The Vampire Shrink and with a sequel planned for fall 2008 it will be interesting to see how the author develops both the story line and Kismet’s character further. I have to be honest and say that I had mixed feelings about this book, some parts I liked while other parts irritated me and in the end my irritation won out. The Vampire Shrink has some quality writing and good original ideas but I think that the enjoyment of the reader will depend on whether they can engage with Kismet. I think that people will either love her or find her remarkably annoying – I’m not sure there is a middle ground!
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