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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Death is for the Living is an urban/action and adventure fantasy novel written by J.C. Steel. Cristina Batista and her partner, Jean Vignaud, had previously hunted vampires on their own, their sleek ship able to cruise unobserved, for the most part, into just about any of the Caribbean ports of call the vampire hunters called home. They were now part of a group with two other hunter-teams sharing a larger yacht. It was a relatively uneasy change in circumstances. Jean had serious misgivings about the situation, especially when Cristina was paired off with Sean, the younger and less experienced hunter, whose recklessness seemed an unfair burden on her.
On their last foray, Sean and Cristina had found a vampire staked out for execution by the sunrise. Their spur of the moment decision to bring him aboard unleashed all manner of condemnation upon them. Why had he been staked, and what purpose did they have for rescuing one of their sworn targets? How would they keep this vastly more powerful being under control or should they simply kill it? That act of mercy was to prove a catalyst that brought the simmering undercurrents of the Artemis to a head.
J.C. Steel’s urban/action and adventure fantasy novel, Death is for the Living, has something for vampire and naval adventure fans alike. Happily, I find both genres to be enjoyable, and settled in for an exciting and enjoyable read. Steel’s book actually exceeded my expectations. The sailing and storms-at-sea scenes are superb, and the underlying historical vampire tale is top-drawer entertainment. Steel’s plot is ingenious and riveting, and his writing is flawless and flowing. His characters have depth, credible histories and staying power. Yes, pirates, vampires, vampire hunters and storms at sea can exist within the pages of one book -- and they do it so well in Death is for the Living. It’s most highly recommended.