I often think the vampire genre has run its course, ‘jumped the shark.’ Most things have been done, and the stories seem to run into one another. Yet I am often delighted and surprised when something comes to light that has a difference. The genre hasn’t lost its flavor after all.
In The Botticelli Affair by Traci L. Slatton, we follow the life and career downfall of Laila Cambridge. As a touted artist she is the daughter of another artist of great renown. The problem is that Laila is an expert forger; her fakes are almost impossible to spot. Yet when a client who has made the purchase of one of her masterpieces is killed trying to protect it during a robbery, Laila can take no more. Her responsibility for the woman’s death weighs heavily, and she leaves the business. Yet art is still her love, and Botticelli is one of the artists she admires most. Life has become a nightmare for her.
Enter John Bolingbroke, a devastatingly handsome man with a secret. Since Laila’s beloved father disappeared, she has been afraid for his life. Upon meeting Bolingbroke, he brings news of his friendship with her father, as well as his last known location. Yet there is more: her father is in dire danger; there are those who believe he may know where a missing Botticelli is and who are willing to kill in order to get the information.
Does she trust this man who seems to have strange powers and secrets, or should she try to find her father on her own? Unsuccessful so far, she makes a choice that will change her life forever. Laila has a secret, too, one that has made her successful as an artist, but only in the field of forgery. Yet those who were her friends in her prior life of forgery are the very same people she must rely on to help find her father. Bolingbroke has her back, but what is the strange energy that he exudes, and why does she think she recognizes him? Who and why is this cult of lunatics after her father, ready to kill to get a painting only vaguely rumored to have existed?
Slatton has done a great job of giving us characters with emotional flaws. The heat that shimmers between them has you hoping and wondering what is going to happen. The chance and friendships that spring up are eternal, and the depravity is deadly. You are taken on a journey that gives you a vision of art through the ages — and the men and women responsible. The action is quick, and the journey is delicious.
If you enjoy reading vampire stories, love art, and enjoy mystery and suspense with an accelerated sense of romance you will enjoy this work. This would be a great find for that library of vampire aficionados, as well as of romance and mystery.