Tour’s Books Blog

April 10, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: The Rogue Hunter

The Rogue Hunter is the 10th book in the Argeneau series and not one of Lynsay Sands better efforts  It is intended as a spin off from the extended Argeneau clan into a Rogue Hunters series. Garrett Mortimer and ‘young’ partner Justin Bricker were bit player in Bite Me If You Can – Argeneau Book 6, the story of Lucian and Leigh Gerard. Here, it’s the 800 year old Mortimer who has the lead.

It was just a plain little cottage in the Lake Country a few hours from Toronto. It had been in the family for years and held a lot of memories for the Willan sisters, Sam, Alex and Jo. It was something they did every year – take a couple of weeks and spend it together at the cottage. It’s harder now that Sam is a busy lawyer, Alex is chef with her own restaurant and Jo manages a bar while attending the university. A late night arrival finds them once again without electric. Sweltering in the heat, the girls decide to take the first of their late night skinny dips in the cool lake.

The same night, the cottage next door has new arrivals. Owned by Decker Argeneau Pimms, the ‘cottage’ is pretty impressive compared to the very modest Willan place, and it’s the temporary residence of Mortimer and a very reluctant, complaining Bricker. They’ve come to hunt a rogue immortal that been biting young women up in cottage country. Since cottages in lake country are about outdoor sun, swimming, fishing and other daytime events, it’s not exactly the natural habitat of ‘vampires’.

The excellent night vision of the two men gives them a special introduction to their neighbors. Sam staggers out of the lake, stumbling through the woods back to the cabin. Mortimer is convinced she drinks, a habit he disdains. Plus, she’s certainly not his type at all. He favors lushly curved women and she’s …….. not.

Next day, after Decker arrives, they see Sam chasing Alex around waving a tea towel around her sister’s head as she mows the lawn. Confused by Sam’s behavior again – and her clumsiness – Decker speculates she’s keeping the deer flies off her sister. Immortals are untroubled, but they love biting humans. The three sister’s advance on the men determined to invite them to dinner. Wanting to discourage them, each man takes one of the sisters and uses their ability to plant thoughts to send them away. Mortimer gets Sam. Thing is, he can’t read her mind. Completely can’t. So startled by it, the men lose control and end up having to go next door for dinner. Bricker, the only one of the three who eats, is kind of thrilled. Decker and Mortimer are resigned but polite. Decker reminds Mortimer what being unable to read a human means and Mortimer goes into complete denial. Sam is NOT his type. She absolutely could NOT be his life mate. She’s all wrong! At the impromptu dinner, Mortimer learns that Sam’s problem is from an ear infection and decides that Sam needs to be ‘taken care of.’ By the end of dinner, his attentiveness has driven her round the bend – but her sisters find it cute. And besides, she is NOT in the market for a boyfriend. It doesn’t help that the idiot Bricker decided to tell the sisters they were a in rock band. Of all the STUPID ideas!

The Sam’s boss, Clarence Babcock, asks her to look into the welfare of the daughter of a very important client of the law firm, and his goddaughter. Her parents are in Europe and have been unable to reach her. Calls to the local cops where they own a lake house over an hour away from Sam’s, has not gotten any real answers. The daughter isn’t the most reliable person and has given her parents trouble in the past, but it’s obvious everyone is worried. Sam badly wants to make Senior Partner in a few years, so Sam allows him to impose and agrees to check on her. The daughter fits the profile of the dead girls, so Mortimer says he’ll take Sam to the other lake to do the checking.

Sam and Mortimer end up driving out to the lake together and finding an ambiguous scene at the lake house. Local law officers are indifferent, but Babcock knows all the right folks and after Sam makes her report, he pulls some stings and the now annoyed man does his job – sort of. In the end, the daughter has once again thoughtlessly taken off and not bothered to tell anyone, returning days later.

It’s very late in the book – and the guys are STILL pretending to be a rock band, when Sam and Mortimer finally manage to get together. In his excess, Mortimer accidentally bites Sam and takes more blood than he should. Next night he explains about who and what he really is and after the lies about the rock band, she throws him out, convinced he’s lying again. It’s up to Decker to convince her. Then Mortimer must get her decide to be his life mate – or Decker will erase her memories.

Sam’s decision isn’t an easy one, because turning would mean leaving her sisters in about 10 years, and she just couldn’t do that. Her relationship with her sisters is too important to her to just agree to hurt them by leaving when she stays too young, too long. To distract herself, she takes a pie to their neighbor who does odd jobs for them. She gets o his little house just in time to startle him into dropping a carton – of blood. Grant is a vampire, the rogue they’ve been looking for, but he only bit humans out of need when the blood spoiled. And there was a problem with a woman at the Agreneau Blood Bank that kept his orders arriving late.   All this action between Sam and Mortimer, the best part of the story, happens in the last 50 pages of a 350+ page book, as does the finding of the ‘so-called’ rogue, Grant.

The book was solid enough, the interaction between Sam and her sisters was very realistic, as were the adventures on the lake – including the bit with the leeches. The story played out well and moved quickly, if mostly along very predictable lines. It just lacked the spark that’s there in her best work. Like soda that’s gone partly flat. Maybe the characters were cut from a too familiar cloth and seemed like shadows of previous characters, not able to establish a distinctive presence of their own. I felt like I was waiting for the thrill to start, it was there, just outside my reach, and it just never arrived. The setting, while interesting, made for a kind of boring backdrop. Basically, The Rogue Hunter was a good read, but not especially memorable.

My Grade: C+ (3.5*)

Who would enjoy this book: Lynsay Sands’ Argeneau series fans, Kerrelyn Sparks’ Love at Stake series and Sookie Stackhouse fans.

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