Author ~ Greg Howard
Publisher ~ Wilde City Press
Published ~ 31st August 2016
Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance
Cooper Causey spent a lifetime eluding the demons of his youth and suppressing the destructive power inside him. But a disconcerting voicemail lures Cooper back home to the coast of South Carolina and to Warfield—the deserted plantation where his darkness first awakened. While searching for his missing grandmother, Cooper uncovers the truth about his ancestry and becomes a pawn in an ancient war between two supernatural races. In order to protect the only man he’s ever loved, Cooper must embrace the dark power threatening to consume him and choose sides in a deadly war between the righteous and the fallen.
Firstly, I love the illustration of this book. As much as I like seeing naked men on a cover, after a while, they become much of a muchness. This one is very atmospheric. This publisher, too, is a new one for me, and if this story is the standard that comes out their stable, I look forward to reading others.
Onto the story. From my opening paragraph, you have probably already realized; it’s a goodie.
Blood Divine opens this gripping foray into the supernatural in Warfield, a plantation in Georgetown. A bunch of lads ride to the deserted haunted slave village. The legend of Blue invites tales of murder, ghosts, slaves, and fire. The younger boys, siphoning confidence from the older ones’ forge ahead. There’s no wind, but a creaking chair rocks on a porch. The boys egg each other on. When a bell tolls without anyone visible pulling the rope, the boys scramble to safety. Cooper's bike breaks and he’s left behind. From that day’s he’s a changed soul.
Twenty years later Cooper has the reputation of being a great lay but gone by morning. After a night of lust, and some missed calls (which he feels guilty about) he returns home to his childhood town. It’s a place he hasn’t seen for ten years. But, his grandmother Lillie Mae has gone missing, leaving him a message ‘not to return’, because ‘he was back.’
Cooper defies the warning and returns, only to be met by his boyhood crush Randy, his brother’s best friend, ex-SEAL and now a deputy sheriff. A man, years earlier, Cooper had made a drunken pass to and been rejected. A man who had since married and divorced.
This is only the start of the book. I’m already hooked, and I’ve not told you a bunch of details. That may lead some into thinking this story has a large cast. It does, but it is managed well and isn’t overwhelming.
Anyhow, Cooper against the advice of Randy goes looking for Lillie Mae. What he doesn’t know is what he’s getting himself into or what he is. After an encounter with a Buffy style, supernatural being, he begins to find out. The revelations lead him into an ancient war where the lines between good and evil seem clear at the start but become a little blurred. Both sides need him to achieve their goals and want to use him as a tool, rather than caring about the person himself.
What can I liken this book to? Possibly, Underworld meets Gone with the Wind. Though, I’m sure there’s a better comparison out there. I say this because, although set in the south, Cooper gets thrown into a world of witches, vampires, demons, good, bad, ugly and not always knowing who the good guys are. Only in this version of vampires and slayers, the bloodsuckers are called Anakim, and the divine ones, Divinum.
The scenes are described brilliantly - I felt like I was there. Oh, and I loved Eudora and Eunice, the Phipps ghost spirits, they reminded me of the geese from the Aristocats. They added that bit of old-fashioned lightness that most drama’s need. There were also some superb lines, my favorite being – cursed supernatural test-tube baby. This line referred to Cooper having inherited genes good and not so good. I guess he was the Anakin Skywalker of the supernatural world, capable of going both ways.
There are plenty of small skirmishes leading up to the big finish along with a healthy dose of sexual tension. And although this is a super story, worthy of its five stars, I felt a little cheated out of a full blown sex scene. I understand it wasn’t the focus of the story, but for me, given the build-up between some of the characters, creating a little time out for a bit of man loving would have dotted an I or crossed a T, especially when Cooper's nocturnal prowess is made a point of.
Blood Divine kept me completely engrossed from start to finish. A real pro of a job. It had me trying to guess what was ahead, and sometimes failing, and had me biting my nails. There was plenty for my emotions to get stuck into, drama, angst, fights, plotting, good and evil. I also loved the way Cooper wasn’t some damsel in distress, he took his role by the balls and owned it.
The ending is one that some will want to scream at, some cheer at, and for other’s – the air will be blue. It’s one of those endings where on the main feature you stay to the end to see if there’s a thirty-second extra. Mostly, though, I didn’t want the story to end. It’s a must for any self-respecting vampire story lover.
Meet Greg Howard
Greg Howard grew up near the coast of South Carolina, or as he fondly refers to it, “the armpit of the American South.” By the time he could afford professional therapy and medication, the damage had already been done. His hometown of Georgetown, South Carolina is known as the “Ghost Capital of the South,” (seriously…there’s a sign), and was always a great source of material for his overactive imagination.
Raised in a staunchly religious home, Greg escaped into the arts: singing, playing piano, acting, writing songs, and making up stories. After running away to the bright lights and big city of Nashville, Tennessee with stars in his eyes and dreams of being the Dianne Warren of Music City, he took a job peddling CDs and has been a cog in the music business machine ever since.
Now an adult with a brain, Greg finds the South Carolina coast to be a perfectly magical place where he vacations yearly and dreams of the day when he can return to write full time in the most tastefully decorated beach house on Pawleys Island.
Greg lives in Nashville, TN with his husband, Steve, and their three rescued fur babies. Molly, Toby, and Riley.
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