From the BLURB:
Kismet Knight, PhD, doesn't believe in the paranormal. She especially doesn't believe in vampires, but she begins to wise up when she is introduced to a handsome man named Devereux who claims to be 800 years old. Kismet doesn't buy his vampire story, but she also can't explain why she has such odd reactions and feelings when he is near. Then a client almost completely drained of blood staggers into her waiting room and two angry men force their way into her office, causing her to consider the possibility that she has run afoul of a vampire underworld. Enter FBI profiler Alan Stevens, who warns her that vampires are very real, and one is a murderer—a murderer who is after her.
Initially I really liked this book. Hilburn has a great premise that’s made all the more interesting by the current media frenzy surrounding vampires. ‘The Vampire Shrink’ opens with protagonist Kismet Knight sitting down for her first therapy session with new client ‘Midnight’ – a 19-year-old girl who claims she is a vampire groupie, soon to become a bloodsucker herself. Believing Midnight is living out her delusions, Kismet starts delving into the cult phenomenon of vampire wannabes – which leads her to vamp club ‘The Crypt’, introduces her to an FBI agent investigating the supernatural and has her sparking the interest of head Poombah vampire Devereux.
It really is a great plot – in theory. Unfortunately it soon becomes apparent that beyond a great premise, Hilburn is really stumbling and shuffling along in the books storyline. She hasn’t got the nuts and bolts figured out – and as a result heroine Kismet Knight is procrastinating for the first half of the book.
The second big fault is lifeless characters. When we meet her Kismet has been single for 2 years – but as events unfold, so does her love life and libido. Inexplicably, men are coming out of the woodwork and flirting like crazy with her – and to be honest, there’s no real reason why. Hilburn has tried to make Kismet a witty, funny and intelligent working woman. But the jokes fall short – Kismet impersonating Alex Trebek and playing “what are bloodsucking fiends?” for $65,000 isn’t exactly high humor, and doesn’t endear her to me. I also got frustrated with her need to intellectualize everything and refusal to believe in vampires, despite all evidence to the contrary. She sees a vampire’s fangs grow and retract, she get’s bitten by a vampire, and she sees one levitate – but still wants to put it down to mass hallucination and great prosthetics? There’s being a realist, and then there’s just being plain stubborn-stupid.
I also didn’t like leading man Devereux. Kismet goes on and on and on about how incredibly Adonis-like he is (another Edward Cullen picture perfect vampire hero). But for all his good looks, Devereux is so incredibly *boring*. He is totally, 100% bland – to the point that when he and Kismet first have sex he announces his intentions – no spontaneous sex for Dev, he comes right out and says “I want to make love to you”, like an automaton. Even his proclamation of love is snooze-worthy;
“For eight hundred years I waited for this night. I am very much in love with you. I do not expect you to return my feelings right away. I understand that this is all new to you. I only ask that you give me a chance to win your heart.”
Hilburn has a second book out called ‘Dark Harves’, but I’m somewhat reluctant to read that one because the blurb sounds a little bit waffling, the plot hazy. I still really like the premise of a vampire psychologist, it’s just a shame Hilburn doesn’t deliver in execution – it also sucks (ha!) that the book has such a crappy title – ‘The Vampire Shrink’ – sounds like an SNL skit, not an Urban Fantasy.
P.S. – I love the cover art. Illustration is by Adam Mock. And as a side note, this is what I picture Lassiter (From J.R. Wards’ ‘Blackdagger Brotherhood’ series, to look like).