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Lucifera’s Pet by: M. T. Murphy

April 29, 2010

Man, I’m not sure what to say about this book or where to begin. I guess I should start by classifying it. This novel is classed as a horror novel and is written by a man. However, there is such a strong love thread throughout it (and a really well-written love thread), that I can’t call it anything other than horror romance. That’s what it is.

Not sure if the author wants to be called a romance author, but yeah. That’s what it feels like to me. And it’s brilliant. One of the most brilliant things about it is it can be equally appealing to both the “typical” male and the “typical” female reader (yes, watch me while I gender stereotype).

There is plenty of action and fighting and blood and carnage and danger. But there is also a strong thread of love and some very well-written and emotionally strong sex. If we take many of the genre expectations of romance and apply it to this book, Lucifera’s Pet passes with flying colors.

I don’t really have any “bad points” for this book, but I’m going to mention a few things that “might” bother “some” readers, just so you know up front:

1. It’s pretty gory. I found this didn’t bother me that much. I guess because with a book your mind chooses the level of visual imagery/detail. So each person has their own personal filter that protects them from more graphic images than they can handle. However, some people might find the carnage upsetting. I didn’t. I’m just saying that some might and I wouldn’t want someone to go in thinking they are getting a fluffy story when they aren’t.

2. Present tense. The novel starts and goes for several chapters in present tense. Not a lot of novels are written this way. Some readers find it distracting. I felt it worked really well because there is a good chunk of the book that is telling the story of their past bringing us back up to the present. This tense shift was really helpful in creating dividing lines between time and creating a sense of immediacy for the book in all the right places. The present tense aspect acts as bookends for the story.

3. Alternating 1st person POV. Alternating POVs where one character speaks per section or chapter is generally relegated to third person. First person stories are rarely told in any manner other than just from one character’s perspective. This may irk some readers. I found it well-handled.

4. Also, and maybe this is actually a bad point… There were a few typos/editing issues. But, there weren’t anymore than I’ve found in Sookie Stackhouse books or half the other NY pubbed books I’ve read. Twilight had atrocious editing. So I refuse to hold a few editing issues against this book when everything else is so fabulous about it and it’s no worse than any NY pubbed book.

Now to the awesome stuff:

1. Amazing storytelling. This book just sucks you in. The characters are evil, and yet we are given their histories before and after they met each other and we understand what shapes them into who they are. Because of this sympathy built for the characters, we root for them.

2. Great snappy dialogue. The author has great comedic timing.

3. The book has a very Sin City-esque feel about it. Kind of a film noir mood in the present tense parts. I could SO see this as a movie. The only bad thing about this not being a book published by a big mainstream publisher is that it has less of a chance of becoming a big mainstream film. And nothing would be cooler than this on a big screen.

4. Male author writing STRONG believable female character. I’ve never seen a male author write a female character so well. Generally in these types of action/danger books a male author will write a female character shallowly. She won’t sound overly female and she’ll have giant breasts that will pretty much be the sole focus of the story. She rarely serves as more than spank material. This doesn’t happen here. Murphy writes strong female characters that are likable and believable and don’t stray into horny teenager fantasy territory. (It’s possible this character may be a horny teenager’s fantasy, BUT, if so, it’s not because the character is shallow and vapid. It’s because whoever is fantasizing has good taste.)

5. Great pacing. The book builds dramatically and hits all the right emotional points. The stakes are raised at the appropriate places and we are not disappointed by the outcome. There was one point in the book where I was disappointed because I thought something had happened that hadn’t really happened. And sorry for the cryptic but if I say more, I’ll be giving spoilers. Later I found that it was a well-placed mislead and I got the ending I wanted.

6. Well-developed mythology that adds to our understanding of vampires and werewolves. i.e. not typical mass-consumer crap. Also, no sparkly vampires. These beings are not overly romanticized. They are realistically monsters which makes their relationships all the more interesting. Just as the author doesn’t give us cheap bimbos with no interesting thoughts in their heads, he doesn’t give us wimpy vamps and werewolves.

7. Overall just really great writing and well-turned phrases. To give you a flavor of the author’s style, here are a few of my favorite snippets:

Fortunately for me, my warriors are blindly obedient. The master
saw to that when they were turned. They were all chosen
specifically for fighting prowess coupled with their low intellect and lack of ambition.

I was starting to develop a reputation, not for being a hero, but for being the one you called when there was just too much shit to deal with.

The idea was ludicrous. It was ridiculous. It was preposterous, and a thousand other similar terms that ended in -ous.

Good help is impossible to find these days. Sometimes I fear my brilliance may be dulled by the morons who surround me.

I give this book 4 and a half cookies. Yes, I know it only goes up to 4. I just really loved this book. Sue me. And go buy it.

This book can be found at Smashwords and Amazon.com in both the Kindle format and Trade Paperback.

FTC disclosure: This book was received free from the author in digital format.

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