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The Kensei: A Lawson Vampire Novel

The Kensei - Jon F. Merz Stop by Smash Attack Reads for a character interview with Talya! http://smashattackreads.blogspot.com/2011/02/blog-tour-kensei-by-jon-f-merz.htmlMy ThoughtsLawson was born a vampire and he is a Fixer. He ensures the secrecy of his kind, and his work is tough. He decides to take some time off and visit Japan, but Japan isn’t as welcoming as he hoped. After he nearly loses his life in an assassination attempt, he meets an unsuspecting colleague in Starbucks. Yuki is also a vampire, and she is in charge of that particular slice of Tokyo. Yuki uses her intel to help Lawson figure out his almost-assassin’s identity. Turns out the assassin wannabe worked for a major bad-ass, The Kensei, whom was once thought dead, and seems to be beckoning Lawson to come hither and fight. There is no R & R in the future for dear Lawson.I enjoyed this one. Lawson’s character is right up my alley. He’s a smart ass and doesn’t put up with BS. I enjoyed his commentary throughout the book. He even called himself an “ass clown” once. :)“I was told you fancied yourself as some type of comedian.”“Who? Me? Nah. I’m just a sarcastic cynical prick. If that’s your idea of comedy, well, then I’m your man.”The setting is also one I enjoy – JAPAN! I’ve never visited the country (boohoo!) but I’m a lover of the culture and really enjoyed reading about it in this novel. I became immediately immersed in the story.Talya, an ex-KGB and Lawson’s secret non-vampire girlfriend, was the highlight of the story. I loved her personality, her witty banter, her intense feelings for Lawson, and her kick ass fighting skills. Not to mention she stole my heart when I learned about her purpose in Tokyo. You see, while she was more than happy to drop in on her secret lover, she actually came to Tokyo for a different reason. Talya has actually been financially supporting an African village. (Big money in assassination, people!) She has a tender spot for these kids and visits them often. However, some of the children have ended up missing or dead, and Talya figured out what was happening: organ trafficking. She followed their trail to Tokyo, seriously heated and ready to kill.Hell hath no fury like a professional assassin named Talya.I thoroughly enjoyed Lawson and Talya teaming up. They delivered some great banter and worked well as a team. They both have significant skills and really make a well-oiled fighting machine. I also enjoyed them as a couple, and thought their tender moments were sweet and honest. In their line of work, it’s hard to settle down and start a family, although they talk about it.Talya slumped back. “Just would be nice.”“What?”She smiled. “Having kids with you.”“Sure, we could have our family fun time. Sniper hour, close-quarter pillow fights, nighttime recon, we’d be the hallmark of a family utopia.”Lawson isn’t allowed to be with her and could get in serious shit if the Vampire Council found out. I wonder if they will ever get an HEA?One complaint: Lawson wasn’t very vampire-like. He does mention blood as the life force, and he has above average instincts, great sight, regeneration abilities and superior reflexes. Honestly, I just thought of him as a really great fighter. There just wasn’t a lot of focus on his vampire-side. Yes, he drinks blood, or juice, as he calls it. He doesn’t drink in the traditional way – via a vein – but instead mixes it in coffee (gag!) or sips it from a vial. It was just easy to forget his true nature.Other Favorite QuotesThe girl started screaming. The guy scrambled away. Both of them started shouting at the top of their lungs. Now I had a soundtrack as I worked.The locals in Noda-shi get a kick out of all the foreigners that come to this sleepy little town. Before they found out the last true ninja was living a few doors down the only source of excitement was the Kikkoman soy sauce company located nearby.I couldn’t recall the last time soy sauce got me excited.She smirked. “You’re a slut.”I grabbed my chest. “I prefer the term ‘manho.’”“Took you long enough.” She smiled. “I had to wait in line and then I got propositioned three times.”“What?”She patted my thigh. “Relax, lover. They weren’t guys.”I raised my eyebrows. “And you turned them down?”