Hell’s Belle – Karen Greco

HBTruth be told I should have liked Hell’s Belle. Honestly, it had just about everything I look for in a paranormal with the exception of one glaring issue, that proved to be Waterloo to my Napoleon, I couldn’t stand the protagonist Nina Martinez. It was a disappointment because as I said all the components were there. Karen Greco is clearly a talented writer in a genre glutted with cookie cutter and sometimes downright silly offerings, she has created an intriguingly bleak desolate Urban Fantasy where the vampire gangs seem to be gaining the upper hand.

Half-vampire, half-human, Nina Martinez spent most of her life underground as part of an elite secret team of government agents who quietly take down rogue monsters — the human world none the wiser. She moves back to her hometown of Providence, RI to keep an eye on the recent uptick in supernatural activity, and to help run the bar she co-owns with her aunt. Her attempt at a “regular” life, not to mention a budding relationship with smoking hot FBI agent Max, is cut short because of a string of ritual murders targeting the city’s community of witches.

But Nina’s investigation unearths deadly secrets from her long buried parents. Now the target of supernatural assassins, could Nina be the most dangerous vampire hybrid to ever exist? No wonder she can’t get a date.

Hell’s Belle opens with the Nina’s recent return to her hometown of Rhode Island after practically a life long absence. It doesn’t take long for the “fit to hit the sham” so to speak, Nina is attacked and slashed with a dagger. It is not just any dagger it is identical to a rare one that her vampire father carried. Obviously, something larger is afoot, something that requires the help of the secret task-force of hunters that are to handle rogue supernaturals on behalf of the Defense Department that Nina worked for.

Initially, it was small things that detracted from the story like Nina’s neglecting to eat when she clearly needed blood but that could easily be excused by the excitement of the evening. However when it became obvious that there was something wrong with her, she didn’t confide in her aunt or even her vampire partner Frankie who might be able to lend some insight into the problem. Nina’s solution was to go hieing off to investigate instead of heeding the advice of her family and friends. While I realize that being the hero of the story often requires some heedlessness of his or her own safety but truly Nina’s disregard of readily available support reached what I have personally dubbed “Bella Swan” proportions (definition – ridiculously clumsy defenseless human running off to fight vampires on some confounded theory that they are the only one who can rectify the situation) before I was even a third into the story.

Unfortunately, what redeemed Twilight and Hell’s Belle’s doppelganger Halfway to the Grave were passionate entrancing love affairs, which was sadly missing from Hell’s Belle. While the potential was there as Max seemed to be a likable enough character I just couldn’t get past the urge to shake Nina until her fangs rattled.

AUTHOR: Karen Greco

RATING: DNF

GENRE: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review. 

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