The Nightlife: New York by Travis Luedke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This story has all the right elements and is a great premise for a different, harder and more aggressive paranormal love story. There is great tension in what appears to be a very one sided adult relationship lived in the seedier side of New York night life. It is also something of a coming of age story for Aaron who finds himself in a bloodlust relationship with the enigmatic Michelle.
What doesn’t ring true for me is the development of their emotional bond. Not that the tension of being a bloodslave isn’t a great element to the story but the depth of the emotional transition that I wanted just didn’t come through for me. For significant sections of the book I felt nothing for Michelle as a heroine and yet she had a great backstory. Aaron grows as a complex hero throughout the story but the ease with which he engages other sexual encounters makes his claims to one eternal love for Michelle a little difficult to believe.
I am hoping that there is more to these two as the series progresses because they have great promise in what is really an engaging and well constructed narrative. However, if you like your paranormal romance with a little edge then this is a good example of how to do it. Definitely worth reading.
Vampires, strippers, escorts, night clubs, gangs, pimps and corrupt cops, the Nightlife of New York is never boring.
Is she a beautiful blond guardian angel as he imagined, or something else entirely? When Michelle saves Aaron’s life she shares the benefits of her blood (after getting him shot accidentally). He awakes a changed man, living in a purgatory of eternal night, never to see the sunrise again.
Michelle drags Aaron through a hardcore learning curve of vampiric slavery. Forced to adapt to servitude, Aaron is subject to her authority of compulsion. She orders him around like a puppet on a string, a dog on a very short leash. First things first, he must learn to feed properly without creating bloodslaves (humans addicted to the powerful drug-like effect of their venomous bite).
And then she puts him to work-a male escort in the sex trade-same as Michelle. Aaron walks a tightrope of strictly controlled feeding regiments and intensely erotic sexual adventures while catering to the neurotic control-freak tendencies of his new master. It’s do or die, Michelle vows to eliminate him if he proves too difficult to control. The real kicker-amidst all these shocking and degrading adjustments, Aaron finds he’s falling in love.
Can he maintain and keep a sliver of his humanity intact? Innocence is a luxury few can afford in the decadent nightlife of New York. In a world where sex, blood, and power over women is so readily accessible, Aaron struggles against the predatory instincts deeply rooted in his new psyche. He must find his way quickly, practicing rigid self-control, or risk the consequences of Michelle’s wrath.
The Nightlife Paris cover art poll