The City Beneath by Melody Johnson (Night Blood #1)


24660103As a journalist, Cassidy DiRocco thought she had seen every depraved thing New York City’s underbelly had to offer. But while covering what appears to be a vicious animal attack, she finds herself drawn into a world she never knew existed. Her exposé makes her the target of the handsome yet brutal Dominic Lysander, the Master Vampire of New York City, who has no problem silencing her to keep his coven’s secrets safe…

But Dominic offers Cassidy another option: ally. He reveals she is a night blood, a being with powers of her own, including the ability to become a vampire. As the body count escalates, Cassidy is caught in the middle of a vampire rebellion. Dominic insists she can help him stop the coming war, but wary of his intentions, Cassidy enlists the help of the charming Ian Walker, a fellow night blood. As the battle between vampires takes over the city, Cassidy will have to tap into her newfound powers and decide where to place her trust…


When life gets crazy I unabashedly escape by searching my e-library for paranormal romance.  Stand aside, real world problems, there are vampires to rein in and maybe even fall in love with!

The City Beneath is successful in that it’s a quick read that helped me forget my worries, but the world doesn’t hold up as well as it should.

The good:

  • Cassidy has realistic baggage and is as strong as she can be, considering the circumstances.
  • Dominic is alpha without being an asshole, and has a history that will probably be covered in future books.
  • Cassidy doesn’t let Dominic pull the wool over her eyes.  She participates in his plans only after she’s taken all angles into account and called out any bullshit.  How I love a heroine that thinks.
  • The characterization is strong and the plot never loses its speed.

The not-so-good:

  • Cassidy is treated as a human pin cushion.  For all her smarts she ends up getting used as bait.  A lot.  She calls Dominic out on this, which makes it nearly tolerable, but the “powers of her own” outlined in the jacket copy are scant, indeed.
  • While the book takes place in Brooklyn I never felt like I was there, or even in a major East coast city.  It could take place in any large city, really.
  • Hand in hand with that, the world building is weak.  Certain elements are well-covered (vampire care and feeding) and others are neatly ignored (anything more than 10 feet away from the heroine).  While I liked the characters there’s not enough of a world here to make me want to go back.
  • There’s not a love triangle, but more of a trust triangle that’s set up early on.  Part way through one corner of the triangle does something unforgivable, but the heroine keeps working with him anyway.  I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.
  • Cassidy is a reporter but sometimes she acts like a police detective.  In the past she was shot while backing up a police officer… but why the hell was a reporter back up for a police officer?!

While The City Beneath was diverting I won’t be reading the sequel.  It does make me want to get back into paranormal and urban fantasy, though….