Each Sunday, Caryn Rupert reads a book from a series. You can read along with her, or add the books to your own reading list. This week, she read “The Vampire Shrink” by Lynda Hilburn.
Books editor Sarah Chain has a stack of books that publishing houses send her to review. I found the second book in Lynda Hilburn’s series, “Blood Therapy” in that pile. Sarah’s not much a romance novel fan, so I figured she wouldn’t miss it. I found “The Vampire Shrink,” the first book, in the Amazon Kindle store for $5. Sweet deal, said I. So I happily started reading.
“The Vampire Shrink” is ironic and charming all at once. I despise the vampire literature craze with the passion of a thousand suns, and “The Vampire Shrink” managed to win me over. According to Hilburn’s website, she was a licensed psychotherapist, a tarot reader and a hypnotist at varying points in her life. This quirky mashup of career choices makes her story about Kismet Knight, a psychologist who counsels vampires and vampire wannabes, seem like it would be pretty close to her heart.
“The Vampire Shrink” follows Hilburn’s heroine, Kismet. Kismet runs her own psychology practice with a steady stream of clients. When she meets Midnight, a girl who wants to be a vampire, she gets the idea to specialize her practice to serve those who want to be vampires. Then she finds out that vampires are real.
After delving into vampire culture, Kismet meets Devereaux, the handsome leader of the vampires. She also meets Alan, a detective from the FBI, who was investigating murders on the west coast. There’s a bit of a love triangle, but Kismet and Devereaux end up together in the end. Alan seems oblivious, and he’s still in the picture at the book’s conclusion. It makes me think that this isn’t the last I’ve seen of him. Personally, I’m team Devereaux. He seems more worldly and less of a dolt. Maybe I’ll make a T-shirt.
As in all romance novels, this one has a steamy sex scene. Since it’s a vampire novel, it might or might not involve copious amounts of biting. I’ll leave that to you to find out.
In Hilburn’s realm, vampires don’t sparkle in the sunlight. They don’t die by crucifix or garlic, but a stake through the heart will kill them.
The book was obviously written post-Twilight. The narrative references Robert Pattinson and sparkly vampires a couple times. Although the main characters aren’t nearly as sad and tortured as the Twilight vampires, the idea of all-consuming devotion between two people, one of whom is a vampire, is still there. The idea of vampires as predators and humans as prey is still there. So I can’t help but wonder if Hilburn was being ironic when she poked fun of Twilight in her own book. I think she’s secretly a Twi-hard.
Ultimately, since it’s a romance novel, it’s refreshing that the characters are much older and experienced rather than reading about spindly, whiny teenagers who claim to be in love.
And the book is genuinely quirky. Kismet’s bathing habits are depicted an unusually large amount of times. Really, every other chapter it seemed she was taking a shower, toweling off her mane of intensely curly dark hair. Kismet had strange traits, too. She wore animal slippers and drank lots of white wine. With everyone she met, Kismet would run through a list of psychiatric disorders they might have. Knowing that the author was a licensed psychotherapist, I could believe it. I felt like I got to know Kismet a lot better than most romance heroines, and definitely a lot better than bland Bella Swan from Twilight.
For as much as I’m comparing “The Vampire Shrink” to “Twilight,” it really reminded me of when Meg Cabot tried to jump on the vampire romance bandwagon with “Insatiable” and “Overbite.” So if you liked those books, you’ll like “The Vampire Shrink.” I’d recommend it to any romance fan. It’s quite funny.
I’m excited to see where Hilburn goes with her story in “Blood Therapy,” the book I found in Sarah’s massive stack of books. It’ll be a treat. I’ve finally found a book about vampires I can actually enjoy. “The Vampire Shrink” was a $5 well spent.