Series: A Hill Vampire #1
Dark Wine at Midnight by Jenna Barwin is the first book in the Hill Vampire series. This being the author’s debut novel I had no idea what to expect in terms of delivery. The synopsis, however promised danger, seduction and suspense and it was this promise that drove my decision to pick up this book. In the end, I am glad I did.
Dr. Cerissa Patel was recruited by the Lux to go undercover in the vampire community as it was rumored that a rogue vampire group has emerged and is a threat to humankind. Her job was to uncover the mastermind behind the group and the plans that were afoot.
She is not keen on the assignment, but the compensation would be worth it as it would mean becoming an envoy for the vampires and in return, her dream of owning her own lab would come to fruition. Cerissa will discover, however that her task would not be an easy one.
She had her work cut out for her. The residents of the Hill did not trust her and it did not help she was an unmated mortal. To top it all, she fell for one of the founders, Henry Bautista.
Henry is a Vampire and wine maker and he was not keen on Cerissa being on the Hill. He believes she will be a distraction, which he confirmed when he realised he was attracted to her. An attraction he could not shake no matter how he tried. Haunted by his past and burdened with guilt as a result he feels he is not deserving of love.
I enjoyed the mystery element. Someone wanted Henry and another founding vampire dead. The suspect pool was small and identifying the villain was not that simple. I managed to figure it out before its revelation.
The characters needed some more development. Descriptions of the major players’ backgrounds were lacking. It would have been nice to have more information on Cerissa’s heritage and that of the other major players. I would love to have more insight about the Lux. What made them different from humans and what abilities they possessed? I love the racial diversity featured in the story.
I believe this is a great start to what appears to be a fantastic Urban Fantasy series. The unique plot and world building pulled me in and held me captive from start to finish. The pacing was ok mostly as there were parts of the story that dragged, but this did not disrupt my enjoyment.
The story ended without a resolution to the reason Cerissa went undercover. I hope will get answers to all questions raised in book two.
Overall a good read and I am looking forward to dive further into this unique world.