I finally found and read Dancing With Werewolves, which is the first book in a new series of urban fantasy novels by Carole Nelson Douglas. (I’ve previously reviewed both Brimstone Kiss and Vampire Sunrise.) This series combines the tropes of film noir and early detective fiction with the standard “babe with gun” urban fantasy romance, with mixed results. The near “near future with magic” setting (type “surprise, the monsters under the bed are REAL and want EQUAL REPRESENTATION!”) does not mesh very well with the writing style or narrative of the story. This makes it a very hard book for me to get into, but your mileage may vary.Our heroine is one Delilah Street, a news reporter living in Wichita Kansas and covering the “paranormal beat” for the television station she works for. Two unrelated events cause Delilah to pack up and get the heck out of Dodge, her destination Las Vegas. The first is seeing a woman who looks exactly like her playing the latest victim on CSI Las Vegas V: Crime Scene Instincts. This is something that is of extreme interest to her, since Delilah is an orphan, and the woman on the screen could be her identical twin sister. The second incident is that an angry co-worker who is a weather-witch decides to total her house with a strategically places tornado. Other contributing factors include the death of her dog Achilles, and a date with an anchor who happens to be a vampire that goes very bad.
So Delilah goes to Sin City where she bumbles her way into the patronage of the producer of the CSI franchise, the enmity of a werewolf kingpin, the arms of a police investigator and former FBI agent, and a murder scene dating from the forties. Of course, since this is an urban fantasy romance, we also have a rival in the form of Cristophe, businessman and rockstar going by the name “Snow” or “Cocaine,” with a kiss that is literally addictive. Snow seems to have an interest in her, and has some sort of connection to Delilah’s mysterious “twin” who went by the name “Lillith.”
Delilah also discovers that because she is a dead ringer for the corpse (who it turns out wasn’t acting) that she is a very hot commodity, and she spends a lot of her time avoiding or failing to avoid being headhunted by entertainment business in an extremely gruesome way. Thanks to her ex-FBI boyfriend (who is a dowser known as “The Cadaver Kid” for his ability to find bodies”) and the business man/performer Snow (who most likely isn’t human, though also not vampire or werewolf) she discovers that she has mediumistic talents.
I liked the book and some of the concepts in general, but felt that the tone of the narrative didn’t match the setting. I think Douglas’ was going for a Who Framed Roger Rabbit type of story, but didn’t really hit the mark. I also felt that the romantic relationship between Delilah and Hector is skimmed over and could have benefited from a little more detail and exposition.