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Book Review: Sprial X by J.J. Westendarp

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Cheryl Erickson is a Hunter. In the shadowy underworld of Dallas, Texas, a world unbeknown to most humans Cheryl hunts and dispatches both Demons and Vampires. She has gained a reputation, has many friends in the business, and her territorial clear rate is one of the highest. Unlike many of the Hunters she does not have a day job, having inherited a very lucrative business when her Father died. It is run by others and leaves her the time necessary for her task. She shares her home with Virgil her best friend, an amazing geek with technical savvy that helps her to stay out of harm’s way.

While she deals strictly with Demons and Vampires she has found that there is a new drug, Plast, that is making its way on the scene. This is something she would normally leave for the DEA, but it has fallen into her territory and seems to be handled and distributed by Vampires or their feeders.

As she sleeps off her recent night’s work, Cheryl receives a call from her mentor known only as Cho, one of the best trainers in the business. He needs to speak to her and is on his way over. As she answers the door, the lifeless husk of Cho, is thrown aside, and a Demon attacks her, nearly taking her life.

As Cheryl tries to find the clues to the death of Cho and the reason for the attack, she finds that a contract has been put on her head. She is directed to find the one man who can help her, known only as the Reverend, as she continues to race against time in a deadly game of cat and mouse. She finds that she has help in places that she could not imagine, and at the same time she is being betrayed by a friend. Will she find the Reverend and the answers before it is too late? There is a new and dangerous kind of Vampire in her territory, will she be able to find them and stop the distribution of Plast before the Hunters lose their edge?

Buffy, Vampire Slayer, move over — there is a new girl in town.

J.J. Westendarp is a new author to keep an eye on. In Spiral X, he has put together a great story filled with an exciting cast of characters. While stories of Vampire Hunters are the norm of the day, Westendarp has taken the theme and twisted it to a whole different level. The twists and turns throughout the entire book keep you reading and engrossed, trying to second guess the story. Cheryl, the heroine of the story is a personable and charismatic person, believing in good, and yet having to step out of her bounds to find answers. She is alternately horrified and then angered the by death of her mentor, the one man who has made her the Hunter she has become. That anger is what drives her, because with the death of an old family friend, she begins to lose hope, wondering if this is the right thing, second guessing her entire life.

When she meets the Reverend, her whole world takes on another twist, one that you just do not see coming. There is such simplicity to the story, and, yet, the interactions of all the characters create a complexity that keeps you reading long past lights out. I would also like to say that I believe that we could all do with a friend like Virgil, her best friend since Kindergarten. They have each other’s backs at all times, and their friendship creates an extra depth in the story, already rich with both suspense and surprises.

I really enjoyed this book, and I hope that J.J Westendarp has plans to make it a series. I would like to see more of these characters; they are genuine and exciting. I started this book and could not put it down; the plot was great with twists and turns that kept you turning the pages. This is a great book for those that are interested in this particular genre, but it is written in such a fashion that anyone who just likes a good story would enjoy it. The author makes you believe in a world, deep in Vampire lore and those that hunt them.

This would be an interesting book for a book club. I would think the twists in the story would give everyone something to discuss, and the perspective of the writer is just a bit more unique — something that is always welcome.

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About Leslie Wright

Leslie Wright is an author and blogger in the Northwest.