Title: Bringer of Night
Series: SPECTR Series Three: Book Two
Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Length: 103 Pages
Category: Urban Fantasy
At a Glance: The dry humor, the friendships and made family, the murder and mayhem, and the abundant imagination are all present and accounted for in Bringer of Night. It encompasses everything I love and have come to expect from this series and from its author.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: The vampire spirit Gray and his human host Caleb have sworn never to drink from a human again. But when a woman from one of Caleb’s tour groups is murdered by what appears to be a vampire, Caleb is arrested as the prime suspect. Not only does she have a bite mark on her throat, but security camera footage reveals her murderer looks exactly like Caleb, down to the clothes he was wearing that night.
Can Caleb and Gray clear their names, not only to the police but to John? Or will the new life they’ve built in New Orleans come crashing down around them?
Review: Two among the many hallmarks of Jordan L. Hawk’s storytelling are the world building and character development he spans over a longer series arc. He’s done it so brilliantly with the Whyborne and Griffin and Hexworld series, just to point to a couple of my favorite examples, and it remains the case in this third set of novellas in the SPECTR series as well. Perhaps especially so in Bringer of Night, in which we are not only introduced to a new drakul—whom the guys aptly dub Night—but we’re also presented with a new John Starkweather…if only in the abstract sense at this juncture.
John’s own mystery seems guaranteed to reveal a furious stretch of secrets before he, Caleb, Gray, Zahira and, I assume, now Night as well, get to the truth of the matter. I love that John is brought to the fore at this juncture, as up to this point, Caleb and Gray’s amalgamation and evolution have figured most prominently. John is the steadfast SPECTR agent, the expert exorcist, and the man who loves Grayleb, and while he is somewhat more flexible in the former, his skill as an exorcist remains an absolute, and obviously he is still very much the latter, but he’s now also a man whose past and present are out of alignment. That Hawk has had this plotline in the works and is doling it out to his readers in teasing little morsels of anticipation is an established characteristic of the series and, I believe, how it’s remained fresh and so consistently gratifying. When the novellas end and I’m left staring at my Kindle wondering why there are no more pages to read, it’s a clue that I was invested in the story to the point of absolute abstraction, and that’s made reading and investing in the SPECTR-verse pay off every step of the journey.
Night’s role in this novella, and the ways in which Caleb and Gray react to and interact with him is yet another lovely bit of character revelation for Grayleb, which is heavily influenced by Yuri, Drugoy, and their chaotic ravaging of Charleston. The contrasts between Night and Gray (the Night and the Storm are just too delicious) are prevalent throughout and are used as yet another means of exploring how much Caleb has influenced the way Gray sees the world around him and processes events much differently than he would have had he been hosted by a dead body rather than by Caleb. We mortals may still be nonsense, but when Gray tells Zahira that Night “cannot see anything but shades of gray,” I screamed (internally) from the very human observation and the dichotomy of it. The juxtaposition of Gray’s name and his ability to not only see color but sense the world around him in anything but a dull, monochromatic way continues to feature in his development as an individual personality who is also a significant half of Caleb’s whole. That Gray might in some way affect Night’s interaction with the world somewhere down the line is a potential I hope is explored in much greater detail, as Night’s curiosity alone endeared him to me greatly.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a SPECTR novella if there weren’t a new paranormal entity introduced, this time in the form of a killer with the ability to hide in plain sight. The murders initially cause no small amount of trouble for Caleb and Gray, threatening to blow their cover at the very least, and giving the team a run for their money. It also provided for an elucidating moment at the climax, offering up yet another reminder of how much trust exists from John and Zahira towards Caleb and Gray. The dry humor, the friendships and made family, the murder and mayhem, and the abundant imagination are all present and accounted for in Bringer of Night. It encompasses everything I love and have come to expect from this series and from its author.
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