Alix “Owl” Hiboux is an archaeology grad student who was screwed over by her professors and turned to a life of art theft to support herself. After a job gone wrong, she ended up on some French vampires’ hit list and has been hiding out in a Winnebago in the desert, playing online roleplaying games in her downtime. She’s sworn off any kind of supernatural job ever again, but can’t really refuse when a helicopter comes to pick her up to take her to Mr. Kurosawa, owner of the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. Owl is shocked to discover that Mr. Kurosawa is in fact a Japanese dragon, and refusing to work for him will probably result in him eating her. He arranges for the vampires to stop hunting Owl in return for her locating an ancient treasure for him.
As refusal will mean either that the vampires hunting her will track her down, or the dragon actually eating her, Owl reluctantly agrees. She finds the egg Mr. Kurosawa wants fairly easily, but is told that the real treasure the dragon wanted was the contents of the egg, a magic scroll, now missing. Owl’s job just got a lot trickier. She enlists the help of her best friend, Nadya, a Russian hospitality waitress living in Tokyo and discovers, while fleeing for her life in a Balinese temple, that Rynn, the handsome bartender she’s been flirting with on and off used to be a very skilled mercenary, and has been hired by Kurosawa’s right hand man to keep her out of too much danger. Of course, Owl seems to be a danger magnet, constantly ending up in life-threatening scrapes.
As Owl and her two friends try to track the scroll, they have to contend with vampires, an ancient Balinese naga (part snake, part beautiful woman), near-impossible decryption, traps, double-crosses, vengeance spirits and more. Owl’s supernatural detection is truly abominable, proven by the fact that most of the people she surrounds herself with turn out to be some kind of supernatural creature. She would probably be dead several times over if it wasn’t for the assistance of Captain, her vampire-hating Mau cat, whose claws and teeth seem to be venomous to vampires.
This is the first book in a new series. I hadn’t heard of Kristi Charish before, but the book was highlighted in January releases by Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and come on, it’s an art thief chased by vampires working for a dragon. For $1.99, I pretty much had to buy it, not matter how it turned out. The series and the characters show promise, but for all that there is a lot to like, there is also a lot that didn’t entirely work for me. Full review here.