Vicki Nelson is a PI and former cop who happens upon a very strange and grisly scene on a subway platform. The event is only the beginning of a series of murders that is so bizarre and inexplicable that, even though she's never been one to believe in the supernatural, soon it seems to be the only possible explanation. Not that she'd ever let her former partner know that - he shouldn't be telling her information about the investigation as it is, and he still hasn't forgiven her for quitting her job on the police force - a job that nearly broke her heart to leave, even though she was certain it was her only real choice.
When Vicki is officially hired to investigate the killing by a victim's girlfriend, she stumbles across irrefutable evidence that the killings are fueled by a malevolent magic, and the killer strikes again and again, each death bringing the city of Toronto closer to the unleashing of an ancient, powerful creature. She teams up with writer Henry Fitzroy - even though she finds out he is a vampire, she is certain he is on her side. After all, if he weren't, she wouldn't feel such a strong attraction to him...would she? As their research leads them closer to uncovering the source of the killings, it seems they are always one step behind the killer.
This is one of the first books published in what has since become an immensely popular urban dark fantasy genre. I read this years ago, when it first came out, and enjoyed it immensely. Reading Tanya Huff's short story in a recent urban fantasy anthology reminded me how very much I enjoy her books, so I thought I'd revisit them. I'm glad to say this first one in the Vicki Nelson series held up very well. Even though I read this seventeen(!) years ago, I remembered quite a lot about the characters and their relationships with each other. It was surprising to me that, aside from the lack of cell phones and the Internet, the book did not seem dated at all.
Vicki is a strong heroine with serious problems of her own, an engaging character that it was easy to root for. Her back story is seamlessly woven into the present mystery along with flashbacks from Henry's life, which gives depth to the characters and makes their motives and actions believable. This series has been made into a television show, and there is also a spin-off trilogy featuring Tony Foster, a character who is introduced in this book. This is a must-read for those who enjoy urban fantasy, not just because it is one of the first of its kind, but because it is a well-written, action-packed story with compelling, memorable characters.
Books in the Vicki Nelson series:
1. Blood Price
2. Blood Trail
3. Blood Lines
4. Blood Pact
5. Blood Debt
Blood Price (#1 in the Vicki Nelson series) by Tanya Huff (DAW Books, 1991)
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BC Books: "Blood Price is a great book. You get such a feel for the characters, especially Vicki, and each one comes across solid and three dimensional."
Savvy Verse and Wit: "The dialogue and interactions between Vicky and Henry are hilarious and had me laughing for much of the book's latter half."
Tez Says: "Neither bad nor amazing, the novel has an important role in the history of urban fantasy in fiction. It was around this time that the genre was revived through Tanya Huff, Jim Butcher and Laurell K. Hamilton, and readers – and writers – have a lot for which to thank them."