Delilah Street is an orphan, supposedly named after the street on which she was abandoned. She lives in a world where magic is “out” and weather witches don’t just alter the weather — they report it. Delilah is a reporter at a station where “Dead Ted” — a vampire — anchors the news.
Delilah’s life turns upside down when she sees her doppelganger in a Las Vegas crime show. The woman looks just like her, even down to the piercings. So when she loses her job, she heads to Vegas to begin investigating.
Vegas is a crazy town, run largely by werewolves who won the war with the vampires for control of the city. She meets interesting people there, particularly Ric, whose special gift is his ability to find dead bodies buried underground. Like dowsing for water, but creepier. The two of them hit it off in a fiery way after they both relive the erotic last minutes of a couple who died long ago.
I’ve seen this book criticized for being “too weird” and I guess I can see that. Parts of it are almost surreal, but I didn’t at any point feel like I was out of touch with Delilah herself, which I find more important. She is living in a weird world, and she is trying to understand it for us. (And for herself.) She is haunted by past memories that may or may not have even happened. In fact, Delilah herself was the strongest part of this book.
I did have a couple of issues with this book, however. First, I really wasn’t that engaged with the romance. It was just kind of there. Second, and more importantly, there was no resolution at the end of this. I know it’s a series, and I expect series to keep part of the plot alive for the next book, but I admit that I have become partial to stories in which something is resolved at the end of the book — usually the mystery, while world and personal relationships carry on. (And yes, I may be biased because that’s how I framed my own Cassie Scot series!) The thing is, the more open-ended a volume in a series is, the more difficult it is to remember the salient points in the next book (unless you read them back to back, in which case they become more like one long book instead of many smaller ones). One big question at the end is a cliffhanger; many big questions at the end is a recipe for forgetfulness. At the end of this book, I still don’t know who killed the couple they found at the beginning, I don’t know where things are going with Ric, I have many questions about the history of Vegas, the werewolves, and the vampires.
I do plan to pick up the second volume in this series — and it’s probably best to do that sooner rather than later! When I do, I will probably have a different impression of this first book, but for now, I’ll call it good. If you like urban fantasy, go for it!
Title: Dancing with Werewolves
Author: Carole Nelson Douglas
Genre(s): urban fantasy, mystery/suspense
Published June 16th 2009