Friday 6 November 2009

CBR2 Book 1: "Bite Marks" by Jennifer Rardin

Publisher: Orbit
Page count: 336 pages
Rating: 2 stars
Date begun: November 3rd, 2009
Date finished: November 6th, 2009

Jasmine "Jaz" Parks is an assassin working for a special branch of the CIA. Bite Marks is the sixth book of Jennifer Rardin's paranormal fantasy series. In this book, Jaz finds herself in Australia. With her is her boss (and lover), the centuries-old vampire Vayl; her nerdy and brilliant former college roomate Bergman, who creates marvellous gadgets for her and her team; the ex-PI turned CIA-sniper Cole (who used to have a crush on her); and Cassandra, the gorgeous centuries-old seeress and former oracle who is now dating (and may be marrying) Jaz' brother Dave.

Jaz' mission in Australia revolves around saving NASA's Australian-based space complex from being sabotaged by evil gnomes. Said mission is complicated by the fact that Jaz seems to be possessed by the spirit of a malevolent Scottish warrior king, and because a very determined and ruthless demon has shown up to drag Cassandra to Hell.

Jennifer Rardin's Jaz Parks series is light entertainment fodder, and its heroine is the paranormal equivalent of Sydney Bristow from Alias. She's smarter than Sookie Stackhouse, a lot less annoying (and has vastly less sex) than Anita Blake, and has a fascinating cast of characters in her head to help her stay on top of her game. The books contain witty banter, sexual tension, gadged-filled undercover missions and action-packed set pieces. Like a James Bond-movie, each books features more or less the same cast of quirky characters, having to save the world from some paranormal disaster.

Normally, I find the Jaz Parks books and easy and entertaining read, but this time, the book was less engaging than some of the previous books in the series. I don't know if it was the lack of a proper villain, or that some of the excitement has gone out of the books now that finally Jaz and Vayl have given in to the sizzling sexual tension between them and become and item, but this book did not entertain and amuse me as much as some of the others have. Hoping for an improvement with book 7. As book 6 in a series, it is also not the best place to start, if one is interested in checking out Jennifer Rardin's writing - Once Bitten, Twice Shy is the first book in the series.

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