Code Name Jack Rabbit, Elizabeth Noble
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Gay Mystery Series
Tags: Paranormal – Vampires and Werewolf, Series, Secret Society, Mystery, Ongoing Partners, Contemporary Setting
Length: 200 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
Meet the newest members of the Vampire Guard, where legend and myth meet science and technology.
Jonas Forge, vampire. Once a spy and soldier, now a cop, Forge enjoys the life he’s built with his friends in Flint, Ohio.
Blair Turner, PhD. Blair, a vampire and computer hacker with exceptional skills, shares a powerful empathic bond with Forge, his soulmate.
Declan, vampire, ex-pirate, ex-fur trapper, thief, and con man. Declan is Forge’s former lover and soulmate to Lucas Coate.
Lucas Coate, MD, Flint’s medical examiner. A werewolf living amongst vampires, Lucas is also one of Forge’s best friends.
Their lives become complicated when an impending Presidential visit throws them headlong into a world of high tech vampire spies and espionage. Recruited into the Vampire Guard by the secret society of the Akhkharu Nasaru, they uncover a werewolf terrorist organization known as the Qiguan.
Together they must thwart a murder attempt on the open waters of Lake Superior while tracking a previously unknown biological weapon controlled by the Qiquan—a weapon which may very well mean death for one of them.
Two Secret Service agents turn up in Flint, Ohio, with orders and details about a visit to town by the President. It’s all very hush-hush and suspicious, and neither detective Jonas Forge, who’s also a vampire, or his friend, colleague, and werewolf, Dr Lucas Coate, like the creepy vibe that Agent Porter Samuels gives off. They’re also not too thrilled with his agency partner, Kai Richter. Lucas can’t get over the fact that Samuel’s mentioned that Lucas’ reputation proceeds him but won’t elaborate further. They are definitely vampires but keeping things close to their chests – in this world supes and humans co-exist. Meanwhile, Blair, Forge’s partner, who also happens to be a vampire and computer whizz, is tracking Samuel’s. It seems he’s been around since the late 1800’s and involved in police work of some description or another.
Things turn weird when Samuels “kidnaps” the main characters for a test, to see what they’re made of. To see if they can be part of the Vampire Guard.
This part of the story bugged me. Why kidnap? Why not ask? They’re all vampires, except Lucas, who’s a werewolf. It does set up some trust issues for Forge, Blair, Lucas and Declan with Kai and Ori – the latter who already work with the Vampire Guard. The MCs handle their meet and greet with a mix of curiosity and scepticism.
Once you get past the kidnapping hump things move pretty quickly and there’s a mystery to be solved in Flint that involves a capsized ship. One that is current but links to more cases over a decade involving other boats/ships in other bodies of water. Boats are capsized or end up missing with no signs of theft or reasons why the vessel went down. There are always deaths and some of the same people/supes seem to be around when things go down. The team decide to investigate biologist and geneticist Bronwen Martell who is new to Flint and is now working at Flint University. She’s key to a couple of scenes where people have died, including a man she was in a relationship with. Blair looks like him and they take advantage of his looks and sweet nature to gain access to her and the data on her computer. She could unlock certain questions they have.
While Forge and Lucas are investigating the boat at the centre of the latest fatality, a werewolf with a Scottish accent, and a bad attitude, turns up and shoots Forge and uses wolfsbane against Lucas. When they track down who he is it appears he’s been eluding various law enforcement agencies for some time. As they dig more they discover his name, Grier, and that he’s involved with a group called Qiguan. No one seems to know much about this group. It’s time for the Vampire Guard to cough up all they know to Forge, Lucas, Declan and Blair if they are going to work together as a team, if they’re going to be able to trust the Guard and be a part of it.
Because Forge and Declan are vampires and have known each other for a long time, they know how to obtain information from a suspect in plenty of ways. Because Declan has been involved in… interesting activities before, he doesn’t think twice when he needs details. Likewise, Forge has been in law enforcement for a long time in different places. Blair is younger and recently turned, not so tough, and Lucas, while a werewolf, is a doctor sworn to preserve life.
“I know you’re very, very thirsty. Your heartbeat changes, and even though you are obviously practiced at controlling your breathing, that changed too when I mentioned Bronwen.” Declan held up one finger and cocked his head. “Oh, there it is again. The same change that occurred when I mentioned sinking ships.”
I can’t say much more about the book because if I do I give things away in regards to the mystery at the heart of the story. There is an investigation and a sorting out, a transitioning, of characters from a previous series into this one. There are some sexy times between partners, but not a lot. The story rules the pages more than sex does, which suits the mystery aspect/genre well.
I like all the characters in this series. Blair has a special place in my heart, he’s sweet, and as the youngest vampire he’s still finding his way in the world. Forge is always tough but fair and Lucas and Declan make for an interesting pairing, a werewolf and a vampire. Contemporary paranormal in setting, there isn’t a ton of world building in this book, I always find that happens more as an author beds a series in, but there is a different spin on vampires and weres, which I enjoyed.
Although this is the start of a new paranormal sleuth series, I knew these characters from The Sleepless City series. I liked them then and I like them again here. This book focuses on Forge, his partner Blair, and partners Lucas and Declan. Simon and Ben are only in this book here and there which was kind of sad for me because they started it all. However, this is the beginning of a new series and it appears there will be more solving of mysteries and investigative work for the newest members of the Vampire Guard. I look forward to seeing where the characters and the series goes from here, once they have settled in together, and I hope Simon and Ben keep in touch. This book is for those interested in a sweeter paranormal mystery series with a touch of sex, but mostly it’s about good friends working as a team with humour and a good natured camaraderie. If you enjoy lighter paranormal reading and you enjoy a mystery and not so much sex in your gay series reading, then Code Name Jack Rabbit is a good start to a promising new series. 4 Stars!