The Bad Death, by Naima Haviland

TheBadDeath-KindleCoverA Gothic Masterpiece of Dark Romance, Horror and Suspense – Review and Author Giveaway

The Bad Death, part of Naima Haviland’s vampire trilogy, tantalises the reader with a spellbinding paranormal tale of romance, horror and suspense. The author skillfully weaves the vampire myth with African Gullah legends to create a dark and gripping narrative, which, when read in conjunction with the accompanying novel Bloodroom, will forever haunt your dreams.

In The Bad Death, set in South Carolina in 1788, a mysterious African beauty emerges from the family crypt of Julian Mouret, the owner of Lion’s Court plantation. This woman enthralls this handsome slave owner with an outlandish tale of peril and flight. Although Julian fears for her sanity, he determines to keep Anika (or Annie as she is known) safe as a series of horrifying mutilation murders ensues, indicating to the slaves the presence of “plat-eyes”—shape-shifting blood-sucking supernatural creatures. Anika becomes empowered to end the rampage, but at stake is not only her own life but the soul of the man she is coming to love.

The Bad Death does contain a  Bloodroom spoiler, so if you intend to read it you may first want to read Bloodroom, to which this book serves as both a prequel and a sequel. Scroll to the end of this review for a link to our Bloodroom review. Naima Haviland is also kindly offering one lucky reader of our blog a digital copy of both Bloodroom and A Bad Death. Scroll down for details of this giveaway, where all you need to do is comment with your name.

I absolutely adore this series! I fell in love with Julian in Bloodroom, being both repelled and attracted to him – I cannot get him out of my head. The Bad Death gives the reader an insight into his actions in Bloodroom, where as a creature of the dark he maintains a thread of humanity. In The Bad Death Julian values rationality over superstition, yet Anika and the events which occur are anything but rational. He refuses to acknowledge the existence of beings which science does not recognise. Julian cannot explain the sexual pull and connection he feels to Anika, whom readers of Bloodroom immediately recognise is possessed by the spirit of Natalie his human lover in that book. Although compelled to keep Anika close, he is also repelled by her as he believes that she is a liar and a trickster at worse and at best mad. What will be Julian’s downfall? – Madness if he realises that such evil actually exists or ignorance as he does not realise the true horror of what he and others face?

Anika is a fantastic kick-ass heroine, protecting those she cares about in any way she can. Although this book is very much focused on Anika, Natalie’s influence is pivotal, as through her possession she imparts her ballet dancer’s strength and flexibility on Anika and also her knowledge of how to defeat vampires. Natalie’s spirit (whom Anika refers to as ‘the Hag’) also gives Anika an insight into Natalie and Julian’s dark romance. Anika regards her possession more favourably as the novel progresses and becomes increasingly attracted to Julian. She is torn between her attraction to Julian and to Marcus, the Mouret’s slave driver, himself a slave. Bitter rivalry and jealousy exist between both men over Anika  and there is also plenty of sexual tension and well crafted sensual love making scenes throughout.

There are a host of supporting characters. These include Tumba, the resident witch doctor, a free black man, whose role appears to be a malevolent one. We also meet the teenage Jane Eliza, whom readers of Bloodroom will recognise as Swisher, who plays such a key role in that book. Julian’s mother, Miss Elizabeth, is a character whom I loved, as she is brave and resourceful and whilst not fully comprehending the true evil around her is supportive of Anika.

The novel contains horror and violence and visceral scenes of bloodlust and gore juxtaposed with passionate lovemaking and lush descriptions of the landscape. I was particularly impressed by the dark, gothic descriptions of the waterways, which link Lion’s Court to adjacent plantations, the descriptions of these and the rice fields and the overarching sky became more and more threatening as the novel progresses. I also enjoyed the magical scenes where Natalie takes possession of Anika  and compels her to dance the ballet and imbues her with visions and feelings from the future. The author has carried out a lot of research into the history of slaves and plantation owners, the Gullah language, folklore and culture and the environment of South Carolina in the late eighteenth century. I was held spellbound and totally immersed in the world and minds of the characters.

The Bad Death is an original and haunting tale. Don’t take my word for it – check out the author’s web and blog sites to read her excerpts and to gain an insight into the characters and the world that she has created. I am certainly looking forward to book 3 of the trilogy, due for release next year.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for an honest and fair review.

For my review of Bloodroom click here

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To buy a copy – currently available both in paperback and Kindle. Click to buy at Amazon US Click to buy at Amazon UK

For a chance to win a digital copy of both Bloodroom and The Bad Death simply leave your name below in the comments section. A draw will be made on 27th September 2013 and the lucky winner informed.

Bloodroom and Release of A Bad Death, by Naima Haviland

13609447[1]A Dark Paranormal/Horror Romance

One of the first books that I reviewed for this blog was Bloodroom by Naima Haviland. It is one of those reads that has stayed with me – the hero, a vampire, has been the subject of both my dreams and my nightmares ever since!

In Bloodroom we see Julian Mouret, a master vampire, have his loyalties torn between upholding vampire law and letting Natalie, the human he has become obsessed with survive when he is honour bound to kill her. I recommend this book to lovers of dark paranormal romance and horror, especially for those with a love of the modern gothic and the erotic. I have reblogged this review alongside this post in case readers missed it the first time around – so scroll down after this post if you want to read the review.

One of my next reads, which I am really looking forward to, will be The Bad DeathTheBadDeath-KindleCoverwhich is both a sequel and a prequel to Bloodroom. It features Julian before he was a vampire and is set in South Carolina in 1788. It has recently been released in paperback and the Kindle version is now available. Here is an abridged version of the book blurb:

The African beauty emerging from his family crypt is a stranger to plantation owner Julian Mouret. A mystery, she spins a dark tale of peril and flight. Though he fears she must be mad, the handsome slave owner is soon lost to this enchantress. But there can be no safe haven. A series of horrifying mutilation murders screams of the presence of “plat-eyes”—shape-shifting blood-sucking supernatural creatures —and only Anika can end the rampage. But to face the vampire horde she will have to master the darkness within. And the price of  victory in the battle ahead may well be the eternal soul of the man she is coming to love.

The Bad Death can be enjoyed without first having to read Bloodroom, but the author advises readers interested in Bloodroom to read it first as The Bad Death does hold a Bloodroom spoiler. If you like the sound of this series, look out for the review of The Bad Death in the coming weeks and also for details of a giveaway by the author on this blog.

Tina 🙂

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Bloodroom by Naima Haviland

Bloodroom 

 

A dark paranormal romance

In Bloodroom we meet Julian Mouret a master vampire have his loyalties torn between upholding vampire law and letting the human he has become obsessed with survive when he is honour bound to kill her.

Natalie Heyward, a ballerina with the Charleston ballet troupe, saw Julian’s true nature when she and her dance partner Andrew came across Julian when he was engaged in a feeding frenzy on some wolves in a local wood. Julian retaliated quickly, tossing Andrew in the air and pursuing and attacking Natalie, whom he could not bring himself to kill. Andrew, who now resides in hospital, never saw his attacker’s face. However, Julian knows that Natalie did and seeks her out, under the guise of patron of the ballet company, intent on killing her to prevent her from revealing the existence of vampires to humans. To cope with the horror of that night Natalie’s mind has blocked out her memories of it. Julian and Natalie have an immediate mutual attraction which develops into a deeply obsessive and erotic sexual relationship. Throughout the novel Julian intends to kill Natalie once he has had his sexual fill of her but he cannot seem to get enough. He knows that he must kill her as soon as she shows any signs of remembering that night and what he really is. Thus we are embroiled in a roller coaster game of cat and mouse with Natalie’s memories – will he, won’t he kill her and when and how? The story is both a paranormal romance and a thriller, with elements of pure horror. It is also very dark and erotic. All the while we are waiting for Natalie’s memory to resurface, wondering that when it does whether her demise will swiftly follow.

Natalie is immediately drawn to Julian. Sexual tension between them is high and soon develops into lust and an obsessive love on her part. Natalie’s parents died when she was very young and she craves love and affection and very soon feels that Julian is the one to fill that void. She is very protective of Andrew, who is now hospitalised and is recovering from his injuries. She is called to his bedside on more than one occasion when Andrew is apparently harmed whilst under medical care, necessitating blood transfusions and he reports that he has been attacked by a woman with fangs. Natalie begins to believe that something is not right about this or the initial attack and becomes fixated on recovering her repressed memories and finding out what really happened that night. She enlists Julian’s help in this and trusts him to help her. She begins to research the history of Lion’s Court, Julian’s ancestral home, near to where the attack in the woods took place, to see if it can shed light on the matter.

Julian is a stickler for upholding vampire law where other vampires are concerned and we are given graphic examples of this. He is swift to act, delivering, through Mick, his chief executioner, the ultimate punishment when other vampires do anything to threaten the security of the vampires. His feelings for Nalalie are thus conflicted to say the least. He is attracted to her as he has been attracted to no female before and yet he also knows it is his duty to extinguish her life. There are a number of scenes in the book when he is about to do the deed but he is prevented from doing so and these scenes are very harrowing. Julian’s mind is torn between acting the attentive lover to Natalie and releasing the desires of the beast within him.

The main supporting characters include the Swisher, a hauntingly beautiful yet deadly, cigar smoking vampire, barely out of adolescence when turned and Mick, a vampire who plays the role of cop, executioner and internal affairs, appointed to Julian by those higher up in the vampire world. Swisher and Mick are lovers, but Swisher, is also attracted to humans. Swisher’s reactions to learning of Julian and Natalie’s affair and her actions move the plot to its denouement.

The descriptions the author gives of the graveyard and its mausoleum, adjacent to Julian’s mansion, are gothic, whilst the descriptions of the bloodroom (to which the book owes its title) and the activities of the vampires at play are truly horrific. The originality of the plot and the vivid imagery contrasting the beauty of the ballet and the ethereal and fragile beauty that is Natalie and the dark, evil doings of the vampires makes this book extremely memorable and it has haunted me since reading it. The author does not shy away from showing the true nature of vampires, their boredom, capriciousness and total lack of humanity. I found myself drawn to Julian (almost against my will), yet repelled at the same time. His obvious attraction to and care of Natalie changes instantly when he gets a hint that she will remember and he plots throughout the book about how he will kill her. As the days go by we are left wondering what will happen to Natalie and whether Julian has a spark of humanity left to enable him to redeem himself or whether he will succumb to his vampire nature and uphold the law. The whole book and final denouement kept me on the edge of my seat and I could not have possibly predicted the ending. I read the book several weeks ago before writing this review and the storyline and the emotions that it evoked have remained with me.

I would recommend Bloodroom to lovers of dark paranormal romance and horror, especially for those with a love of the modern gothic and the erotic. Naima Haviland is an author who is new to me, but I will definitely be looking out for her other works.

Reviewed by Tina Williams