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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Plot Type: UF
Ratings: V5, S1-3, H2 
Publisher and Titles: Midnight Ink
      Murder in Vein (2010)  
      Baited Blood (2011)  

     This blog entry was updated and revised on 9/25/11 to include a review of the second book in the series: Baited Blood. That review follows this overview of the series so far:

     The heroine of the series is Madison Rose, a young woman with a tragic past filled with abusive foster homes. Madison lives in the Los Angeles area, where she is going to school and trying to make a successful life for herself. When the first book begins, Madison has no idea that vampires exist. On a recent blog, Jaffarian describes Madison's moral code as follows:

     "After growing up in a series of awful foster homes since she was eight, the star of the Madison Rose vampire mysteries has developed her own moral code and sense of survival: Trust no one and do whatever it takes to save your skin and get the job done, as long as you don’t intentionally hurt people or get caught. She does her best to live as honestly as possible, but understands a little lock picking and subterfuge can harvest results faster than the direct approach. She’s the perfect companion to a bunch of vampires trying to live under the radar. They demand her complete loyalty and honesty and breaking that can mean death, but they also expect her to weave a web of lies to protect their clandestine way of life. If she has any second thoughts about her actions, they are quickly reasoned away and forgotten." (, 7/31/11)

     In this world, vampires work hard to keep their existence a secret from the mortal world. Most of their characteristics conform to the usual vampire mythology. They subsist on blood (both animal and human), sleep during the day, have extra strength and speed, are extremely wealthy, and are preoccupied with sex. In California, the vampire leader is Samuel La Croix, a centuries-old vampire who came into the area about forty-five years ago and either killed or banished the vamps who were living in the "traditional" manner (i.e., murdering humans right and left). Under Samuel's leadership, vampire life goes rather smoothly, with with human blood being taken only from willing donors. Humans are called "beaters" in this seriesfor the beating of their hearts. Supporting characters are mostly members of Samuel's vampire community, including Doug and Dodie Dedham, a married vampire couple who adopt Madison (in book 1) and give her a place in their home.

        BOOK 1: Murder in Vein        
     At the beginning of book 1, Madison is kidnapped and beaten by an unknown assailant, just like several other young women in the Los Angeles areabut Madison is the only one who escapes alive. After being rescued by vampires, Madison gets involved in their search for the serial killer who is leaving blood-drained bodies around the city. The vamps have a vested interest in finding the killer because the public is beginning to call these killings "vampire" crimes. Madison is soon introduced to the dark goth underworld of human wanna-be vamps, a very creepy group (lots of blood-sucking scenesyuk!). She also must go through the process of admitting that vamps exist, that they are not as violent as portrayed in the movies, and that some of them can be quite sexy. By the end of the book, Samuel hires Madison to work as his assistant for his Vampire Council. So far, Madison has three romantic possibilities: Samuel, Colin Reddy (a handsome vamp), and Mike Notchey (a human cop whose life was also saved by the vamps), but there is not much actual romance in this first book, just a few flirtatious moments. 

        BOOK 2: Baited Blood             
As the story begins, Madison has settled into her new lifestyle, living with the Dedhams and working for Samuel and the Council. She and Notchey have shared a few kisses, and she and Colin have flirted with one another, but Madison is not in a hurry to get into a romantic relationship. Her natural instinct is to withhold herself from close relationships of any kind. The plot in this book revolves around the vampires' search for a serial killer who is dumping dead or nearly dead vamps on the properties of the local vamps, including the Dedhams. As the investigation proceeds, Madison learns more and more about Samuel, Colin, and the Dedhams. She also learns some horrific facts about Notchey's past. When Doug and Colin's maker (Annabelle, aka Ann Hayes) breezes into town, she is the main suspect in the killings, but then Madison discovers some new and astonishing information that blows the case wide open. 

     Although Jaffarian's overall premise is inventive (attractive, fragile human woman working intimately with powerful vampire bigwig), her character development leaves much to be desired. Madison's words and actions are all over the place. One minute she's a blushing, embarrassed, naive girl, and the next minute she's bitch slapping an ancient vampire and threatening to stake her. Madison's character is completely unpredictableand in a head-shaking way, not in an interesting way. The same holds true for the supporting characters. In her interior monologues, Madison frequently points out that vampires are violent and unpredictable creatures, but when they are part of a series, the reader needs to begin to understand their emotions and motivations so that their actions have some meaningsome context. The characterization is so bumpy that it definitely interferes with my enjoyment of the series. The plots are O.K.fairly well developed with not too many loop holes. But the ending of book 2 was pretty lame. I can't go into details without spoiling the story, but I can say that when the otherwise intelligent vamps foolishly allow Madison to go off on her own for the climactic scene, this reader was muttering, "Oh no, no way!" That entire scene was entirely unbelievable for me.

     Jaffarian also writes the ODELIA GREY MYSTERY SERIES and a new paranormal series: THE GHOST OF GRANNY APPLE MYSTERY SERIES. Click HERE to go to her blog.


  1. On the previous Author List page, the author's last name is incorrectly spelled as "Jafferian."

  2. The Author calls this series "Madison Rose Vampire
    Mystery Series" on her web site.

    Also the next book is "Baited Blood" and is due to be released 09/08/2011.

  3. The spelling typo has been corrected. Thanks.

    Regarding the series title, FANG-IN-CHEEK was the early name for the series. If you google it, you'll find it on sites like and goodreads. Sometimes authors and/or publishers change series titles. When I update the blog entry (that is, when I review the next book in the series), I'll include both titles. Thanks.