Dead End Dating‘s premise seemed promising, if fluffy, at the outset: a young woman with no romantic life of her own starts at dating service. The twist is that she and most her clients are vampires (although it’s not much of a twist). I thought an Emma-ish comedy-of-manners, 21st-century-ized and fanged-up, sounded kinda fun.
Unfortunately, there’s not much life in the book. Raye’s vampire social structure is a little improbable to say the least. She starts with the not-unreasonable hypothesis that vampires prize fertility, with “born” vamps trumping “made” vamps in social status, but then adds the bizarre notion that female vampires’ fertility is correlated to how multi-orgasmic they are. (This leads to lots of clunky dialogue, since vampires are apparently deficient in tact, and many verbings of the word “orgasm.” Also, should you care, although the characters talk about orgasms a lot, Dead End Dating‘s strain of paranormal romance is much less racy than, say, Hamilton, Harris or Harrison’s.)
Narrator Lil’s voice is very Candace Bushnell, with fashion product placement on practically every page — which I found a little unsatisfying given that Lil is supposedly centuries old. (I don’t expect a novel like this to be rigorously researched, but at least Bill in Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels has a few 19th-century mannerisms.)
Dead End Dating is further dragged down by the introduction of an action/mystery sub-plot involving a serial kidnapper and a mysterious bounty hunter who the narrator finds inexplicably yummy (at tiresome length) despite his hair-metal wardrobe.
needs more demons? I was just barely interested enough to finish it, and might not have bothered if a heat wave hadn’t been generally sapping my brainpower/will to live.