Review: Turned by Virna DePaul

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I picked up Turned because I was in the mood for something a little different, and because it’s the first book in a new series.  I don’t intentionally read a lot of vampire books because I prefer a good zombie apocalypse to torment my protagonists, or werewolves, because they just kick butt.  All of that Mine, Mine, Mine, the snappy teeth, and the pack dynamics just work for me.  But I decided to venture into the dark world of vampires, which, in the case of Turned, includes gangs, cults, and rogue vampires.  Oh, and lots of sexy times.  Fun!

Ana is a former gang member.  She has recreated her life, leaving behind the gang and opening a coffee shop in Seattle.  She served a two year prison sentence, and she’s still haunted by the events that caused her incarceration.  On the day she was going to leave the gang and take her younger sister as far away from the crime-seeped life they were living, a rival gang interrupted her jump out ceremony, guns blazing.  When the smoke cleared, Ana was arrested, and her sister disappeared without a word.  Having searched fruitlessly for her for years, she’s approached by a dark, dangerous man who promises that he’ll hook her up with Gloria if she agrees to work for Belladonna, a covert branch of the FBI.

What Ty doesn’t tell her is that he’s a vampire, and that he needs Ana’s help to crack a crime ring that is selling Hispanic immigrants as blood slaves to other vampires.  Ty was turned against his will six months ago, and now he wants the Rogues responsible to pay.  They turned him, turned his friend, and killed his sister.  Struggling to keep his lust for blood and sex under control, he considers himself a monster.  He failed his sister and his friends, all because he thought he was a badass.  He had no clue that there were real monsters lurking in the dark, and now that he’s one of them, he’s searching for a way to return to what he was – human. 

Both Ty and Ana are damaged.  Ty because he was turned against his will, and Ana by a lifetime of being spit on by the people she loved.  She’s only ever been able to count on one person, and she will do anything to ensure that Gloria is safe and happy.  Ty and Ana are both are suffering from tunnel vision as they seek to achieve their goals.  Ana finds it so hard to trust anyone,  or count on anyone, so she is used to doing things for herself, so she doesn’t give Ty much of a chance to prove himself to her. Ty thinks he’s a monster, not fit to be loved, so he denies his feelings for Ana, thinking that he’ll soon be tired of her.  Ha! Foolish vampire!  Once Ana gets under his skin, there is no getting rid of her!

I felt that the pacing faltered near the end.  Ana and Ty find themselves in grave danger, they receive assistance from a surprise source, and then BOOM!  Book two is set up as the attention is shifted from Belladonna busting the masterminds behind the blood slave ring, to busting up a sex ring.  Events at the compound happened so quickly, and the villains were dispatched with equal speed, leaving me feeling a bit let down.

Turned is a gritty vampire yarn, packed with action, blood, and seduction.  It kept me reading late into the night.  I enjoyed the introduction to Virna DePaul’s dark and sensual world, and I’m curious to read more.  I’d really like to learn more about the full-blood vampires lurking in the background, hiding among the humans while manipulating them at the same time.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Perfect for fans of J. R. Ward, Nalini Singh, and Lara Adrian, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Virna DePaul’s new series of paranormal romances introduces readers to a thrilling world where vampires secretly co-exist with humans, seduction rules the night, and the stakes are nothing less than life and undeath.

Welcome to a mesmerizing world where vampires hide among humans. This centuries-old species has its own rules, code of conduct, and taboos. Only the FBI knows that vampires exist—and although the Bureau agrees to keep their secret, it also plots to give humans the upper hand.

Turning mortals into vampires is forbidden.

But there are creatures who refuse to play by the rules.

Ever since he was turned, FBI special agent Ty Duncan has had one mission: bring rogue vampires to justice. As a recruiter for Belladonna, a shadow agency formed to keep vampires in check, Ty must tap Ana Martin, a troubled ex–gang member and one of the few mortals who can infiltrate places that his kind and the law cannot. From their first encounter, Ty fights a hunger to make Ana his own.

When Ty claims to have information about Ana’s missing sister, Ana has no choice but to trust this captivating stranger who awakens her deepest desires. But as she and Ty climb the heights of pleasure and passion, an enemy is conspiring to destroy them both.

Can Ana help Ty find his humanity in a love that could heal them both, or will their passion lead them into a darkness impossible to escape?

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