Part of the joy of reading is that it allows you to escape and become part of a story. In the case of Single White Vampire, the reader doesn't feel like part of the story, but rather like an outsider watching a group of really good friends wink and nudge each other over some private joke.
Kate C. Leever, and you will never forget her full name because the author calls her that almost exclusively throughout the book, is an up and coming editor at Roundhouse Publishing. She has been assigned Lucern Argeneau, who writes paranormal romances under the pseudonym of Luke Amirault. Seeing Lucern as her ticket to the big time, Kate (C. Leever) pushes the reclusive author to engage in some publicity generating events. His reply to her many letters is always the same - NO.
That's because, unbeknownst to Kate, Lucern is actually a vampire who's been around for more than six hundred years. His supposed paranormal romances are actually family histories of his siblings and their relationships. All he wants is to be left alone and avoid his mother's matchmaking. Needless to say he is less than excited when Kate (C. Leever) shows up on his doorstep unannounced and prepared to stay as long as necessary to convince him.
Kate is a dull and irritating heroine. She never seems to notice the irony in calling Lucern pigheaded and rude while she herself refuses to take no for an answer and inserts herself into his life whether he wants her there or not. Kate is all about how badly she's being treated without thought to how her actions affect others. A perfect example of this is when she gets all dressed up for a wedding. Lucern has barely had time to focus his eyes on her when she launches into a non-stop diatribe about how he isn't dressed yet and they're going to be late, literally without taking a breath. When Lucern hastily retreats to escape the assault, Kate sulks because Lucern didn't tell her how pretty she looked.
When she isn't whining about how insufferable Lucern is, Kate just takes up space. Her naiveté is supposed to be charming, such as mistaking "doobies" for "debbies", but in the end she comes off as dim.
Lucern is an enjoyable hero if only because he is a breath of fresh air amongst brooding, Anne Rice vampire clones. Lucern is a loner, yes, but not because he's just so tortured and dark. He just wants to be alone because, well he's tired of dealing with people, having done it for so long. He's reached a point where he's settled in the way he lives and likes it that way, not unlike many long-time bachelors.
Sands also has an interesting twist on the whole vampire legend. I won't spoil it here, but suffice to say that Lucern and his family aren't the usual garlic fearing, coffin sleeping undead vampires folks are used to. One minor annoyance point is Sands doesn't seem to realize nanos are not the same thing as nanytes, but that's just geek pickiness.
The cast of supporting characters, mainly Lucern's family is fun if a bit one-dimensional. It is puzzling though that a group of people who are so eager to conceal their true lives is so inept at covering it up. The obviousness of having Lucern's family be identical to the people in his books serves only to make Kate look even sillier for not having put it all together sooner.
A good portion of the book takes place at the Romantic Times convention that Kate finally tricks Lucern into attending. This is where the book really makes the reader feel like an outsider. Real life big names appear, such as Kathryn Falk and thinly disguised versions of people like Fabio and Sands' own editor Chris Keesler. The whole segment is very wink wink, nudge nudge and dragged on too long to be interesting.
In fact, so much time is spent paying homage to the romance biz that when it comes time for the resolution of Lucern and Kate's relationship, it feels very rushed. We're talking two very disparate people here, yet the solution is so quickly decided and neat all it's missing is a nice bow.
Single White Vampire is not a bad book, but it's difficult to shake the feeling that it was written for a very specific audience, one that I was not a part of.