Kiss of Death picks up with our favorite Morganville residents--Claire, Eve, Michael, and Shane--being issued passes out of Morganville to visit Dallas where Michael will be auditioning for a music executive. Under the chaperoning of baddie vampire Oliver, things of course go awry (inserting understatement), and all four are soon fighting for their lives when a rogue band of vampires is discovered...well, make that two rogue bands actually. Lots and lots of action follows that echoes a horror movie script: hiding in small rooms while blood crazed vampires chase you; a deserted town with its citizens living in terror; a hearse; a creepy motel with local rednecks threatening harm. In other words, business as usual for our friends.
I love the Morganville Vampires series, and this one's no exception. The witty banter is great, and Ms. Caine gives the series an up-to-date feel without making it seem too trendy. I especially love the cameraderie between the four friends, and the relationship between Claire and Shane, which has definitely grown into something much deeper. And I adore Myrnin, though there was far too little of him in this novel, and the foreshadowing of Claire not looking back at him makes me very worried about his future well-being.
Still, I have my quibbles with this entry, though I really tried hard not to. Caution: possible spoilers ahead. Still reading? Okay, here's the deal. I really couldn't understand why all four friends were issued passes because it really didn't make much sense; why not keep Eve in Morganville at least so Michael had a reason to return? And perhaps, if Amelie did mean for Oliver to find the rogue vamps, Claire might have been needed if more serum was necessary. But otherwise it just didn't seem logical. Also illogical was how a busload of vampires--a busload!--was able to escape the strict confines of Morganville (a fact repeatedly hammered home in earlier installments). The whole busload of snacks bit was a little...odd, even for vampires. And the bit about the hearse? Too over the top, even for Eve. Oh, and a number two pencil?
I'm really not complaining because I got to spend time with my favorite foursome, and Caine's writing is tight and exciting all the time. This one's most definitely a set up for the next book, which is fine; it's also very creepy and a good way to see how the characters' relationships are progressing. As always, I can recommend these novels to all and sundry who love vampire books, and I'm ready for Ghost Town to be in my hot little hands as soon as possible.