Dana reviews The Vampire and the P.I. by J.P. Bowie (Published by Wilde City Press, June 3, 2015, 151 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
UPDATE: Re-released by MLR Press February 17, 2017. Cover and buy links have been updated.
Blurb: When Sean Martin was shot in the hip he thought his days in law enforcement were over. Leaving the force with commendations and a healthy disability agreement he opened up his own private investigative business, and for a while enjoyed success until a jealous and homophobic ex-colleague spread a story about Sean assaulting an underage boy, the son of an influential congressman.
Overnight, Sean’s business tanked, leaving him broke and with zero clients. That is until Master Vampire, Rafael Barrantes, hires him to find the murderer of Julian Hunter, a young male escort. Sean isn’t crazy about working for a vampire—but all that changes when he meets Arturo Menendez, Rafael’s private secretary.
The stunning and uninhibited Arturo wastes no time in showing his admiration for the handsome PI. He immediately tries, and succeeds in seducing Sean. In between bouts of the most amazing sex Sean has ever had, he discovers that the facts surrounding Julian’s murder have been swept under the carpet. Perhaps by pressure from his wealthy ‘clients’ whose veneer of respectability might be irreparably damaged if it were disclosed they had used Julian’s services.
With Arturo’s help, Sean wades through a web of deceit, lies and treachery trying not only to find Julian’s killer, but also to vindicate himself of the false rape charge that ruined his career. In the process he is beaten, kidnapped by a bad cop, and bitten by a rogue vampire. With the odds stacked against him, can he possibly ever solve the mystery of Julian’s murder, and can Arturo, even with his vampire powers, save Sean from a grisly death?
This is the first book I ever read from this author, and I’ll start by saying I definitely want to read more. I have become a big fan of mystery in the m/m romance and gay fiction genres. I enjoy trying to figure out whodunnit along with the detectives and watch how they uncover the details of the crime. This story had a bonus of being paranormal in nature as well. It takes place in a modern day setting in what would seem like our world, only vampires are known to exist. They live side by side with humans, and are faced with prejudices against them because of what they are; which makes them very relatable in a world already filled with discrimination against people of different races, genders, and sexuality.
Sean is the type of character I really enjoy reading about. Someone who’s down on their luck just waiting for things to take a turn for the better. After being honorably discharged from the police department and starting his career as a private investigator, he is framed for statutory rape and disgraced among his former police officers. It leads to loss of respect and business. He is struggling to keep his home when Rafael comes to him with a case.
Though Rafael isn’t an mc in the romantic aspect, he is a big part of the story. Even as a wealthy and powerful vampire, he is looked down and even suspected of killing his lover Julian. Julian isn’t an innocent in this story. He sleeps around with rich men looking for his meal ticket, but keeps all emotions at bay. Rafael loves Julian and can see some details of the human’s death but not everything so he needs someone who knows how to delve deep into a murder investigation. He seems to kill two birds by hiring Sean. Finding out who murdered Julian and also matchmaking the detective with his vampire assistant who has been living without love for a long time.
Arturo’s role in the story is not just to help Sean, but he is this very lively and sexy addition to the story. Sean isn’t prejudiced against vampires but he is wary. He has no desire to be with one sexually and definitely wants no part of being bit. But the chemistry he has with Sean is strong and quick. He can’t resist the seduction that occurs almost immediately after meeting the vampire. It is enjoyable to watch as respect and friendship develop between them and then love.
The main part of the story is filled with corruption among the wealthy who won’t let their secrets get exposed at any cost, and a corrupt officer with a personal dislike of Sean and a desire to collect from the rich men in exchange for cleaning up their messes. It was a suspenseful story that kept me on the edge of my seat hoping they not only find the murderer but also prove they did it. And in the process, they might be able to clear Sean of the accusations against him. I quite enjoyed the ending of the book and and was left wanting only one thing: for Rafael to get a book, too.
J.P. Bowie was born and raised in Aberdeen, Scotland. He wrote his first (unpublished) novel – a science fiction tale of brawny men and brawnier women that made him a little suspect in the eyes of his family for a while.
Leaving home at age eighteen for the bright lights of London, he found himself in the midst of a “diverse and creative crowd” that eventually led him to the performing arts. For the next twelve years he sang, danced and acted his way around the theatres of London and the provinces, appearing in shows with many famous British singers, actors and comedians.
After immigrating to the US and living for many years in Las Vegas where he worked for that incomparable duo, Siegfried and Roy, J.P. found himself entranced by the fair city of San Diego where he currently lives with his partner, Phil.
J.P. loves to hear from his readers and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org