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Dark Need    by Lynn Viehl order for
Dark Need
by Lynn Viehl
Order:  USA  Can
Signet, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

The Darkyn have had almost ten centuries to insinuate themselves into human society and have done so very successfully. Yet they wage a constant battle with the Brethren (a sect of Vatican priests determined to exterminate them). They also struggle with internal politics that often function under incredibly complicated and archaic rules of engagement. Lucan, former chief assassin of Darkyn high lord Richard Tremaine, has been released from his centuries-long duties and given his own jardin in Florida. While an assassin, Lucan operated without constraints or remorse and continues to do so as owner of Goth nightclub, Infusion. Women mean little or nothing to him other than as a means of release and a steady source of blood; his alluring Darkyn physiology ensures that neither are ever in short supply. So when one of his former lovers ends up brutally murdered and her body is left posed with an artifact that implicates Lucan, detective Samantha Brown comes looking for answers.

Lucan is shocked the moment he sees Samantha entering his club; certain she is the reincarnation of his lost love, he is determined to learn more about the beautiful detective. Despite Samantha's negative impressions of Lucan, she finds herself strangely attracted to the mysterious nightclub owner. He admits that he has a long list of enemies, any one of whom could have framed him for the murder. When he offers to share information with Sam, she agrees and soon finds herself drawn into not only Lucan's current problems, but also shocking secrets from his long and violent Darkyn past. But before either of them can come to terms with their undeniable attraction and the complications that it represents, Lucan learns that an old enemy is coming to town to settle a score - and that only one of them will survive.

If you are new to Lynn Viehl's very shadowy Darkyn mythology, be warned that it's not for the fainthearted, or those who expect a typical romantic hero or even a completely satisfying romantic ending. The author has created a very complex world that combines aspects of Templar history, a murderous arm of the Catholic church and a very large cast of characters, both Darkyn and human. There are several - in particular the Darkyn leads - you may not like very much. Lucan's brutal past certainly plays a large part in explaining his unsympathetic nature. With an overly busy plot that includes picking up a story thread from book one (If Angels Burn) and still another from Samantha's past, Viehl never really gives Lucan a chance to grow, and his commitment to keeping Samantha in his life seems like an afterthought when it finally does happen.

But while Dark Need has shortcomings, I give Viehl continued high marks for ambition, imagination and an interesting and intricate world. I look forward to the next Darkyn episode, Night Lost.

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