Saturday, December 17, 2011

Blood of Eden by Tami Dane (REVIEW)

BLOOD OF EDEN (Sloan Skye #1) by Tami Dane
Published December 6, 2011 by Kensington
342 Pages // Paperback

Sloan has a sky-high IQ, a chaotic personal life, and a dream: to work for the FBI. Her goal is within reach until an error lands her with the FBI's ugly stepchild: the new Paranormal Behavioral Analysis Unit. She'll get to profile criminals, but the pool of suspects is a little more...diverse. Yet even as Sloan tackles her first case--a string of victims, all with puncture wounds to the neck--she can't silence her inner para-skeptic.

To catch the killer she'll have to think like one. That means casting aside her doubts, and dealing with the bizarre nightmares that started with the job. But the strangeness is only beginning, as Sloan pieces together the shocking truth about a case that's more personal than she ever would have guessed.

When I was offered the chance to review BLOOD OF EDEN, I jumped on the opportunity. I love urban fantasy, forensic psychology, the FBI, vampires - and this start to a new series promises just that. We are introduced to our narrator, Sloan Skye, as she begins her internship with the FBI - or so she thinks. A strange series of events ensues, after which Sloan is shoved into the new (and somewhat kooky) Paranormal Behavioral Analysis Unit, or the PBAU. Their first case appears to be a serial killer who injects its prey with a tropical illness through bite marks on the neck. Sloan is thrown into the action almost immediately, and secrets begin to unravel from this point.

Let me just come out with my main problem. This book's plausibility level was basically non-existent. What plausibility? Sloan is suddenly going to murder scenes, visiting morgues, and at one point is shoved undercover - less than two weeks after her internship begins. I was a government intern (twice) and the only time I ever left the office was to go to a meeting at another office within sight of the main office or to go across the street to buy a newspaper for my boss. It wasn't an FBI internship, but I cannot fathom that it's allowable for an intern to do stuff like that. That was my main issue with this book. This book could have had a lot more going for it if Sloan wasn't an intern. If she was new to the unit, it's believable. As an intern? No. Not all all.

The characters overall seemed rather flat. Outside of Sloan, her mother, the two guys fighting over her, and her roommate, the characters faded into the woodwork. We were introduced a multitude of characters, from a brainy female techie at the FBI to a number of witnesses, doctors, and victims, but picking out names or personality traits was pretty difficult. Even the chief of the department was just a one-dimensional character with no discernable personality. Sloan at times ranged from fun and relatable to rather dumb. The ending of the book was obvious from the first few chapters, but with every new clue bonking her on her precocious little head, she doubts the obvious. This is the PARANORMAL Behavioral Analysis Unit, but every time something paranormal happens, like bite marks or a woman jumping a six foot fence in one leap, Sloan's immediate reaction is to doubt the obvious and claim the witness was seeing things or crazed or blind or senile. It isn't until the very end and a familial revelation that was clear from the beginning that she begins to realize everything.

As we reach the end, the story comes into its own and develops an interesting new direction. By this point, though, it's too late - the story has already become implausible, outlandish, and full of predictable turns. It leaves me with hope that maybe book two would be better, but based on what I have read so far, I highly doubt that I will read it.

By the ending, Sloan was still the only character with real depth, but over the course of the novel, this depth became watered down and diluted by the lack of plausibility in the story. The plot of this book sucked me in. I was desperate to love this book, I wanted to love it, I wanted to be able to recommend this to my friends and my readers and everyone I knew. Instead, I can only recommend that you try this at your own risk. It will not be for everyone, and it wasn't for me. The ending reveals the openings for an intriguing urban fantasy series, but I am not sure if I want to continue based on a heavily flawed book one.

VERDICT: With plausibility and predictability issues, BLOOD OF EDEN is unable to fulfill the interesting premise it sets forth. Would not recommend this one.


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