June 6 #Bookreview Sleight of Hand by Mark Henwick #books #kindle

Sleight of Hand by Mark Henwick

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Sleight of Hand (Bite Back 1) by Mark Henwick is a contemporary urban fantasy detective story. Amber is a military veteran who’s been discharged because she is bitten by a vampire while on a mission. Her bite and possible transformation into a vampire are kept top secret. For a short while, she becomes a police officer until she attacks and kills three rogue vampires to save the life of a young girl. Now she is a private detective struggling to pay her bills and attract business.

In this novel, Amber is hired by Jennifer Kingslund, a rich businesswoman whose friend has disappeared. Jennifer believes someone is trying to sabotage her company, and she wants Amber to solve the mystery. The search leads Amber to werewolves and vampires and a centuries old war that could threaten everyone.

I enjoyed this book and found it to be well-written and edited. Occasionally, some passages get a bit wordy and could be written shorter, but it’s not a large problem. The majority of readers won’t notice the overuse of the word “was” that could have been edited out. It’s a pet peeve of mine so it tends to stick out.

Character development for Amber is excellent. She comes across believable, and a reader will care what happens to her. She is also a strong kick-butt kind of character, which is a nice relief from all the whiny female leads in many paranormal books that are copying Twilight. One thing I thought was odd, about fifty percent into the novel the reader learns that Amber had a twin sister who was stillborn. Up until this point in the novel, the twin is never mentioned, almost like halfway into the novel the author got a new idea and decided to throw it in. The rest of the novel has Amber occasionally talking to her dead sister, which doesn’t serve any purpose in the novel. I’m not sure why the twin was added in half way and not worked into earlier parts of the novel. Perhaps the twin is important in the next book. In this one, it’s just an oddity thrown in half way.

The story has an excellent balance between action and slower getting to know the character scenes. The mid-section did slow a bit for me waiting for the ball to happen, but I pushed through and the story does pick up again. I found the parts of the book where Amber is discovering things about the supernatural world more interesting than the investigation scenes, but that’s because I’m not much of a detective story reader.

I don’t read detective stories much so I may not have enough reading experience to say this, but I found the way Amber ran her business realistic, calling in the police instead of going in herself, calling for help, backing off when other characters in books would have gone in alone and saved the day. I liked this aspect and found it to be very different from other detective stories I’ve come across.

Another thing I’m happy about, even though this book is a part of a series, it has its own ending. It doesn’t stop in the middle leaving everything unresolved and me scratching my head wondering if the author knows how to conclude a book. It does leave enough questions about Amber’s personal life to keep you wanting more.

I highly recommend this book. The slight editing issues, the strange twin thing, and a slow part in the middle are the only problems keeping this book from getting five stars. If you love detective stories with vampires and werewolves, and a main character that is tough, then you will enjoy Sleight of Hand.

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