When Johnathan Newman arrives in Cress Haven, the last thing he expects is for his life to be irrevocably changed. Sent by a clandestine league of vampire hunters to investigate a string of murders, signs point to a vampire lurking amid the townsfolk. Johnathan’s attempt to enlist the locals leads him to an unlikely partnership with Vic, the town’s most eligible, enigmatic bachelor.
As the pair work to solve the mystery, Vic’s secrets come back to bite him. Revealed, the vampire fights his attraction to a man trained to destroy him, while Johnathan’s emotions land him in the middle of forbidden desires. Even if Vic isn’t the murderer, how can Johnathan yearn for his natural enemy?
As Vic leads Johnathan into encounters with terrifying beings straight from children’s nightmares, Johnathan learns that not only is the world stranger than he knew, but that those he once trusted have far darker intentions that will place hunter and vampire at the center of a conflict between realms.
Cress Haven holds more sinister secrets than its resident vampire, a secret so great, it could unleash Hell itself.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.
I am so incredibly weak for vampire/vampire hunter pairings (enemies-to-lovers rears its head) and seeing A Bargain of Blood & Gold with just that trope, I absolutely jumped at the chance to read it!
The main pairing of this book is just a delight. We follow our hunter Jonathan, a young Prospective of the Society, a group that deals with the supernatural threats against humanity, who’s dropped off in a small backwater town in Maine to deal with the local vampire problem. (As one may guess, there is, in fact, more than just a vampire problem). John, while somewhat naïve due to his youth, is still quite a fun character to follow because of how clever he is. The Society trained him well. The other half of this pairing is local vampire and town’s most attractive/charismatic bachelor, Vic, who cheerfully flirts with John any opportunity he gets while also proving to be quite helpful in this investigation. I just lived for the banter between these two. There’s so much growth in this relationship, as John first meets an unfairly attractive man, as John goes through the crisis of realize the unfairly attractive man is a vampire, and as John slowly reconciles those two facts together.
For those curious, Vic is of the grassfed, vegetarian style, killing humans for food bad, breed of vampire. So the enemies-to-lovers aspect is a fairly one-sided.
I can’t say much about the plot without giving away details, but I will say I did enjoy the murder mystery storyline. I was surprised by the number of components(and some of the foreshadowing) that were introduced and it’s clear the author is building up the world for future books! For me, my favorite part was exploring the absolutely fascinating dynamic between John and his childhood father figure (again, no details because spoilers) and I certainly hope to see that more in later books. Overall, a solid 4/5!
r/Fantasy 2021-22 Bingo Squares:
- Mystery Plot
- Published in 2021
- Forest Setting
- X of Y (hard mode)