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REVIEW

"Imaginative New Vampire Series will have Readers Doing a Double Take!"

Former police officer Tia Martell had had enough of photographing dead bodies. The job had given her nightmares, so she had traded that life in to become a free- lance photographer. Her latest assignment has taken her to Natchez, Mississipi, but photographing antebellum mansions and the like hasn't proved as interesting as she had hoped. She won't be sorry to head back home after one last stop. The Bishop Inn supposedly houses a resident ghost.

Following the shoot Tia decides to dine in, and encounters the inn's mysterious owner, Dallas Allgate. She finds his presence disturbing and decides to make a quick exit. That plan is thwarted when a hit and run accident occurs on the inns doorstep.

Seizing the opportunity to make a little cash on the side, Tia photographs the victim and the accident scene. It becomes immediately clear that Dallas has a connection to the victim, but he refuses to be interviewed or photographed. Tia returns to her hotel and makes arrangements to have her photos developed.

Dallas' reaction to the woman had been just as strong and that could only mean danger for them both. The man injured in the accident outside the inn had been a private investigator hired to find him. The P. I. claimed that his client knew him by several aliases that dated back to the 1800's. If his suspicions were correct he was being sought by another of the Undead for very personal reasons.

Yes, Dallas Allgate is a vampire. He'd been one for 235 years, old by human standards but a mere youngster by the vampire's. Life as a convict transported to Australia had made him strong. It had also made him one of the undead. He had falsely convicted, and had long since exacted his revenge upon his accuser. That act has just come back to haunt him.

It doesn't take long to find out the identity of his pursuer. While Dallas questions the victim, the hit and run driver arrives at the hospital to finish the job. The vampire is a mere fledgling, just the apprentice of the vampire who seeks his end. Connor Flynne is just the toady of the real threat, an old enemy, Jermyn St. James, son of the man who Dallas had ruined, a vampire nearly as old as he.

In the meantime Tia has recovered her photographs of the inn. She is less than satisfied with the results as she rembers the face of the enigmatic owner. She can't get Allgate out of her mind. The need to photograph him consumes her. The photographs of the crime scene are more satisfying. She had unwittingly taken several photos of the vehicle involved in the accident. Hoping that Dallas will be interested in the discovering the identity of the man who tried to kill his friend she heads back to the inn. When she finds he isn't in, she uses her former skills to track him down.

Before she knows it she finds herself in the middle of a vampire vendetta. Dallas had thought himself to be more than a match for a mere human, but he hadn't been able to send her packing as planned. She is a most unusual woman. She does not respond to compulsion nor any of his other efforts to be rid of her, nor can he bring himself to do away with her.

When St. James decides to use Tia as a pawn in his revenge scheme, Dallas takes her under his protection. He come to care deeply for her and she for him. But he knows that his compelling eyes reflect only that which she wants to see. She sees only her fantasy, while he knows himself for the monster he truly is.

St. James is a formidable opponent, having the advantage of being a "day vampire", and the battle is significant enough to involve one the Brotherhoods enforcers, Alek Dragovich. Drago has been sent as mediator but he may serve as judge as well, if the "men" don't heed his warning to desist with their quarrel. He also has his say regarding Dallas' affaire de coeur. He feels that Tia knows too much about their kind, and gives Dallas an ultimatum. Either destroy the woman or bring her across. If Dallas fails to do so, he will personal carry out the task. Dallas is well aware that a love relationship must require one of them to retain their humanity. If he follows orders either way, he will lose her. Whether he meets the "True Death" in the upcoming battle with St. James pales in comparison, his decision in this matter will be a true reflection of his soul.

There are many reasons why I loved this book, the symbolism and imagery being foremost in my estimation. I was most impressed that the tale was neither sugar coated to make the romance acceptable, nor was it horrific in the stereotypical manner of many vampire tales. The hero was very real, making no excuses for himself but tormented in Undeath as he had been in life. He alone fails to recognize himself for the man he is inside, and is not able to forgive himself for his many trespasses until love opens his eyes. I also love the way the heroine faces down her life long fears for her mortality when faced with losing the man she loves. An lets not forget the ghost, also a part of Dallas' past, who gets into the act and provides some necessary humor. Bravo! I look forward to AFTER IMAGE, the second book in this vampire trilogy which casts l'enforcier, Alek Dragovich as the hero. Now that WILL be interesting.

Copyright 2001

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted November 30, 2001

SUMMARY

Dalys Aldgate has been a survivor for 235 years. Life as an Australian convict had sharpened his survival skills, but the bush also bestowed him the ultimate gift of survival--a journey to the Other Side. His soul left behind, Dalys became a mirror for those still human--a polished surface upon which the living can project their fantasies, never seeing the "monster" on the mirror's other side. In present day Mississippi, "Dallas" lives a reclusive life as owner of a haunted inn while trying to forget his even more haunting past.

Ex-cop Tia Martell is now a freelance photographer trying to adjust to life "after The Job" and put the years of violence and death behind her. While on assignment to shoot antebellum mansions in Natchez, Mississippi, murder brings her face-to-face with Dallas Allgate, the coldest, yet most fascinating, man Tia has ever met. Before Tia can unravel the mystery of the man with the hypnotic eyes, a young vampire and his master, Jermyn St. James, seek out Dallas for revenge. St. James only wants Dallas’ true death until he sees Tia. Now he wants her, too.

Tia's in danger from St. James, but she's in even more peril from Dallas--the man who knows death even better than she does. In their struggle for life, one of them will have to make the ultimate sacrifice. But will Dallas let Tia make her own choices, or will he bend her will by projecting her fantasies upon his Double Image.

 

Double Image
(Image: Book 1)
by Jaye Roycraft

Imajinn Books
July 1, 2001
Available: November 7, 2006
ISBN #1893896668
EAN #9781893896666
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Other Books by
Jaye Roycraft

Hell's Warrior
Blood Rain
Immortal Image
Shadow Image
AfterImage
Rainscape


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