Book Review: ‘Brimstone Kiss’ by Carole Nelson Douglas

Brimstone Kiss by Carole Nelson Douglas

Brimstone Kiss is book 2 of the ‘Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator’ series. The first book was Dancing with Werewolves from last year. You really, really need to read the first book before reading this one.

Delilah Street is an orphan from Kansas who worked as a paranormal investigative reporter for WTCH-TV until office politics, a ‘vampire’ newscaster and his weather witch of a girlfriend almost literally blew Delilah from town. Delilah saw an episode of CSI Las Vegas V in which there was a morgue scene in which there was a twin of her, right down to a nose stud, on the autopsy table. So, with no reason to stay in Kansas, she moved to Las Vegas to search for her twin and discovered a LOT more going on than just a TV show with her twin in it. But all that discovery happened in the first book, in which she gained a new home, a new job, a new boyfriend and new pet. As well as a passel of new enemies.

In Delilah Street’s world, things are similar to ours, but changed in significant ways due to something that happened in the year 2000: The Millennium Revelation. In that year all the things that go ‘bump in the night’ and were thought to be only fiction have come out from under the bed and out of the dark closet. Werewolves, vampires, witches and zombies are just some of them. And some of those zombies are imbued through magic and science with new life from the black and white age of film. These zombies become CinSims (Cinema Simulacrums) whose appearance and nature are based on the merging of the actor and the character the actor portrayed. So there are multiple Bogarts, multiple Lon Chaney’s and so on.

It is now 2013 (or thereabouts) and Delilah Street lives in Las Vegas in an Enchanted Cottage on the estate of the Hector Nightwine, producer of the CSI Las Vegas V TV show and is investigating the 80 year cold case of the murder of a pair of lovers back from before Las Vegas was the ‘power’ that it is today. But in both the discovery of the bones of the lovers (in the first book) and in just the fact that she looks like that body in the TV show (around which a cult is forming, of sorts), Delilah has stirred up a whole passel of troubles and things that the powers that run Vegas really preferred stayed buried like the murdered lovers.

In general this book adds a number of pieces to the puzzle, adds more questions, and reveals more about the post Millennium Revelation world (or at least Las Vegas). We learn more about the lovers, more about the CinSims, more about Delilah’s various ’employers’ as well as a little more about her dog, Quicksilver, and her boyfriend, Ric Montoya. But most of the book is just investigations and Delialh getting herself into more trouble. She discovers that some of her ‘enemies’ may be closer to friends, and that there is more going on than meets the eye in Vegas. But really nothing is resolved and things don’t move along that much. This feels a lot more like just another step along a long, long path.

All in all, I really don’t feel like this book had any story of it’s own. No real start, middle or end. Delilah Street is a GREAT character, and the world is really interesting, but this felt less like a book and more like a collection of episodes in an old movie serial. Even the end of the book, where we suddenly have a big event causing a undefined change in one of the characters feels like something you would find in one of those serials. Maybe this is the author’s intent, in which case she did a really good job, but I, as a reader, was sort of swimming around through the book looking for something to be resolved, even if it was something small, but I never found it, unless that something was intended to be the Name of book and the bestowing of that kiss.

I did enjoy this book, and I really want to read the next one, and I hope it is on the same schedule as the last to, targeting them for a October release. But I also see that Ms. Nelson writes very prolifically, so we’ll see.

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