Things have only been getting more and more difficult for Cadogan House's Sentinel, Merit. Now she and the Master of Cadogan, Ethan Sullivan have been summoned to the Mayor of Chicago's office. Apparently, Chicago vampires have been killing humans at 'raves' around town, and the mayor is threatening to set Ethan up to take the fall if those responsible aren't found. Both Merit and Ethan know that the strongest suspect is Celina, former head of Navarre House, and someone who wants both humans and vampires to be at one another's throats. Plus, she dislikes Ethan, but hates Merit with a white-hot passion, holding her responsible for her fall from grace.
Ethan dispatches Merit to investigate the raves around town since he is on the hook with the mayor. Merit goes to a source that Ethan knows nothing about, the Red Guard. Mostly a 'who watches the watchman' organisation that has been courting Merit, but she needs their contacts if she going to get to the bottom of this. Finally getting into one of the parties with Red Guard help it seems normal until all hell breaks loose! Merit makes it out and finds her biggest clue yet, a pill marked with a letter V that seems to have started all the problems at the party.
So begins the roller coaster that is Hard Bitten, and a roller coaster it is. If there's a playbook (and yes, there generally is) on how to write series novels, Chloe Neill has set fire to it and danced upon the ashes. Mostly, they run in three book cycles and the third book has a lead-in to the fourth. That hasn't happen here...at all. Ms. Neill has consistently become a better, smarter novelist with each book she's published. Hard Bitten has a smart plot that's tight and keeps you guessing right up until the very end.
I didn't find a lot of fault with Hard Bitten. I read it in one go, it kept me guessing and the ending was amazing. Just remember this, when you do get to the ending, on Facebook Chloe Neill asked everyone to do one thing, trust her. After writing this entertaining of a novel and habitually getting better book after book, I do.
I can't wait until November and Drink Deep - Chicagoland Vampires #5
Hard Bitten - Chicagoland Vampires #4 receives a Classic rating of 4 out of 4 stars
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