Homicide detective Reese Tarrant leaves the LAPD under a cloud of suspicion that he murdered serial killer Richard Lamb, dubbed by the media as the Anaheim Vampire for draining the blood from thirteen women. Because Lamb had once worked for billionaire Ajax Rasmussen, Reese drives up the coast to Santa Marina and Ajax’s palatial mansion overlooking the Pacific.
Archeologist Rusty Webber has been hired by Ajax to investigate Indian skeletons found behind the Santa Marina Mission. It is a job she views with ambivalence: the last time she worked for Ajax, searching for Dracula’s tomb, she was nearly raped and executed by Romanian rebels. Rusty doesn’t trust Ajax, but he has the money to resurrect a career stalled by charges she killed a fellow archeologist.
Ajax Rasmussen, CEO of Cirrus Industries, the world’s premier chemical conglomerate and whole blood fractionator, is a respected businessman and philanthropist, owns a dozen Picassos, courts royalty, prime ministers, and presidents, and is a success by any standard.
Reese is in the formerly quiet town only a few days when a priest is found butchered and hanging by his feet at the mission, the owner of a gothic book store is drained of blood, and a young cop Reese has befriended is hacked to death.
When Rusty is arrested for killing the priest, Reese provides an alibi and they soon find themselves not only falling in love but also coming to the conclusion that Ajax may not be the man he claims to be.
This book took me a while to really get into it, but that was because there were so many questions in the beginning that bogged down my mind. I loved that the questions were answered and how the book ended up. For once, I figured out what was going to happen.
Ajax is a delightful villain. He has motivations, but you really don’t figure it all out until close to the end. I loved and disliked that about him. There was so much of me trying to figure him out that I didn’t know what to think about him. However, he reminds me a lot of old school Hollywood Dracula. There’s a forein-ness to him and everything that happens because of him, you start really rooting for the good guys.
Rusty was a pretty cool character. I didn’t know what to think about with her at first, but she really grew close to the end. I was confused about her physical features and envisioned her a raven haired woman, not the red head that she was. That might have been because I missed that part of her introduction, though.
Reese was the character that I could understand the best. He definitely sounded like the crazy guy that everyone was trying to say he was, but somehow he was still someone I wanted to root for.
The overall story was a bit hard to get into, like I said before, but it was still a good book. I didn’t want to stop reading, no matter how discouraged I was that answers weren’t happening. Then again, that’s what made this book interesting. The mystery of figuring out the “why” overpowered most of the story and keeps the reader going.