Servant: the Kindred
by L.L. Foster
(Jove, $7.99, R) ISBN  978-0-515-14690-5
**
Dark, edgy, and infinitely moody, the third in Foster's (Lori Foster, writing under a new pseudonym) Servant series throws Gabrielle Cody on the scent of a serial killer with a taste for blood - human blood. What starts out as a bizarre vampiric fetish soon warps into a cult of cannibalism, with the typically cocky head honcho leading along his flunkies and displaying his superiority.

Unfortunately for Gaby, she's quickly developing a taste for sex and, specifically sex with Detective Luther Cross. Her growing feelings for Luther, she believes, are distracting her from her calling. Her duty as a paladin, which isn't described in any great detail in this volume but can mostly be deduced, is something that is apparently destined by God.  In modern society, Gaby is seen as a vigilante, which more often than not shoves Luther between a rock and a hard place. Though he frequently tries to convince Gaby to let justice preside, the two have different ideas of what is just, and Gaby 99% of the time does her own thing. Though several examples of Gaby's powers (primarily heightened senses and strength and a sixth sense about crimes) and their effect on her romantic relationship are described, the biggie is how she is tracking Fabian the cannibal.

Foster takes the reader through Fabian's crimes, and the vision is disturbing. It could be argued that knowing who he is and where he can be found from the beginning of the story detracts from the mystery, but it certainly adds to the suspense. Fabian isn't any deeper a character than the others. Actually, it seems that each character has one focus and that's as far as their interest in life goes. Gaby's is her calling, and she struggles mightily with wanting to divide that with Luther. Luther's set aside his own morals to make his interest Gaby. Fabian's thing is eating people. Because of this single-mindedness, it's difficult to form any kind of rapport with the characters.

Another trait of the novel that disappointingly yanks readers back into reality is Foster's obsession with her thesaurus. Though I'm sure most readers don't want a book dumbed-down for them, it's also terribly distracting to have to pull out your dictionary every other page. Often Foster's choice of adjectives or adverbs is even awkward, and over all there is no flow to the writing.

If Kindred were the first novel of the series, I would say it has potential. Being the third, it's past time for Foster to have found her groove here, and I can't recommend purchasing or reading Servant: the Kindred.

--Sarrah Knight


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