Book Critique - Dark Crime (The Carpathian Novels # 27)

For reviews of other books in this series: Go here

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: If you like paranormal plots with hint of romance, eroticism and the other world abilities involving immortals and vampires along-side humans with super-abilities, then this is a series to go for. This plot creates a new thread in the many threads this series has keeping it interesting and intriguing.

Dark Crime is the twenty seventh book in the longest series, Dark Series, by Christine Feehan which was originally published in August of 2015. The primary plot revolves around Maksim Volkov - a Carpathian and a nightclub owner - and Blaze McGuire - owner of an Irish bar with strong psychic abilities. This was first published as part of the anthology, Edge of Darkness, in 2015 before it came out as its own the following year.

Carpathians are a powerful and ancient race who are near-immortals living for thousands of years with powers and gifts. Despite their gifts and extended lifespans, they are at the edge of extinction as fewer and fewer children are being borne and far lesser of females. Without their female counterpart aka "lifemates" the male Carpathians lose the ability to feel emotions leaving the males with hard choice: either become vampire or "greet the dawn". After Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky finds a lifemate in a human female with psychic abilities, there is hope for all the other Carpathian males who have been holding off from turning into vampires – the very creature that they hunt and kill to save all beings. The series now ventures into other  species - Jaguar Species (with the 10th book Dark Symphony), Dragonseekers (with the 16th book Dark Demon), and Lycans (with the 18th book Dark Possession).

In her 31st book, Dark Legacy released in September of 2017, Christine had introduced a new Carpathian female, Elisabeta Trigovise - an ancient and sister to Traian Trigovise and thought lost to them. Christine tends to bring back her characters and tie all the inconsequential details that she leaves around in her plots. The mention of Traian Trigovise made me want to re-read the series again since quite a few facts she had brought back in Dark Legacy were lost on me.

I had already published my review of this book when it first came out as the anthology here. However, as part of the re-read, doing it again, perhaps a bit much better.

Dark Lycan, Dark Wolf and Dark Blood - the trilogy preceding this book - felt like the next wave in the Carpathian series that reached a crescendo and fell back into a serene ripple at the end of Dark Blood. Of course one of the high mages still got away, vampires and sange rau still exist to fight, differences between species still to be resolved. But, it did feel like a calm sea at the end of Dark Blood. That calm sea got picked up in this book bringing the readers back to United States by Christine.

Blaze McGuire was all set to take on one of the local factions of the mobsters, who had murdered her father, even if it meant sacrificing herself. Little did she know that help comes to her in the form of Maksim Volkov, a nightclub owner, powerful, very rich and very very dangerous. He has no intentions of letting Blaze take revenge at the cost of her life, but will do everything in his power to exact the same. For, she was his lifemate.

Blaze is a strong woman with a backbone that broke no nonsense. She is not a typical woman that, if Maksim expected would be in for a surprise. Her upbringing had been unusual, courtesy of her father, Sean McGuire, a U.S. Marine. And she had a penchant for revenge, especially if someone hurt her family.

Maksim with his partner Tariq Asenguard, owns a night club and several acres of land where they make their home. They are a force to reckon with.  And Maksim would want to use all of his powers to control Blaze, but he doesn’t. Instead he takes on her as his partner, a soldier by his side in any battle. 

We met Tariq briefly in the 19th book Dark Curse, and he had definitely made an impression on the reader's mind. Would love to read his story soon. We also meet the triplets - Matias, Lojos and Tomas - who up until last book were actually guarding the Prince. And also the antagonist, final Malinov brother, who hadn't been introduced to the readers up until now.

I felt the plot a bit rushed, especially the claiming part and the passionate night shared between Blaze and Maksim. They meet and a little while after he claims and they have this amazing sex. Normally Christine's plots ensure that the hero and heroine know each other well before this happens, at least the sex part. Perhaps because it is an anthology and has limited pages to write the story, Christine rushed it. Now I understand why Christine doesn’t like writing short stories.

I couldn’t get the feel of which city the plot was set in, but it looked like west coast. Perhaps San Francisco? Also couldn’t tell if this plot is set right after Dark Blood.

Again the words like "obey", "allow" sneak in Christine's plots which were lesser in the previous three or four books. I wish she just could use other words, but then there is no give to the Carpathian men, so perhaps these words do suit them. Even though the women object thoroughly and find a way to balance that between them.

Not sure how Christine decides why a certain character has to face some hardships, and why certain character has to go thru hell before finding peace and heaven. But, what she has in store for Emeline Sanchez in this plot, wrenched my heart. Reminded me of Ivory Dragonseeker's story so much. 

The anthology did not have any other additional indices or appendices that normally come with a Christine Feehan book. 

Another powerful paranormal romantic plot woven by Christine Feehan keeping us thoroughly entertained and immersed into the world of Carpathians, Lycans, Mages and Jaguars along-side humans. As always the fight scenes are excellent and love scenes are very erotic and rough, bordering on brutal.

Even though it is an anthology, Christine certainly left the readers with so many minute details that they would be craving to read those details becoming important in future plots. Watch this space for more reviews of the next books in the series.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot reveals:

a. Emeline "Emmy" Sanchez - friend and family to Blaze, who had mostly lived on streets all her life, but sneaked into Blaze's bedroom at nights for support and shelter. Both Emmy and Blaze shared dreams that projected something that would happen in future. She was taken by Vadim Malinov when trying to rescue children, forced to take his blood and perhaps Vadim tried to breed with her. There is a lot more to her that prompts a separate story for her by Christine.

b. Four strong psychic kids, siblings, are saved from the clutches of Vladim Malinov - Danny (15 year old boy), Amelia (older than Danny), Liv (10 year old), Bella (a toddler).

2. Sub-Plots:

a. Wonder why Christine didn’t have their own book or a novella for Barack and Syndil instead of splitting between Dark Challenge and Dark Fire? Why make him wait till after Darius makes his clam on Tempest, before Barack claims Syndil?

b. Dark Celebration plot reveals that Paul and Ginny have Jaguar blood in them by way of their mother. Although Paul is tied to Nicholas De La Cruz by blood bond since Dark Secret.

c. Ivory Malinov has a pack of wolves that she had converted them to Carpathian - Raja & Ayame, Blaez & Gynger, Farkas & Rikki. Now Dimitri and Skyler also have a pack of their own Carpathian wolves - Frost & Misty, Moonglow, Shadow and Sonnet.

d. The book of spells by Xavier was found in Dark Demon by Natalya and Vikirnoff Von Shreider. However, Christine hasn’t yet put together a plot to destroy it. 

e. I wonder if Christine would have a cross-over between her Leopard People Series and the Jaguar species in this Carpathian Series.

f. In Dark Peril, it is shown that Solange Sangria's royal jaguar blood gives Carpathians ability to walk in sun, albeit with some difficulties. Christine showed the continuity of this in Dark Predator and Dark Storm plots. 

g. In Dark Predator we saw budding romance between Julio Santos and Lea Eldridge. Will they and other human families at De La Cruz ranches resurface?

h. In Dark Blood, a few things come to light: Zev Tirunul gets 12 Lycan/Carpathians - Guardians of All - thought to be Sange rau, for his pack which includes Dimitri and Skyler, Fen and Tatijana and Bransilava, his mate; along with his trusted elite Lycans. I am seeing another thread here that Christine perhaps will explore further. That Zev is from a powerful Carpathian lineage, Dark Blood.

3. Unique / Repeat Characters who are not Carpathians but with the possibility of them being expanded by Christine Feehan in future books:

a. In Dark Dream, Falcon and Sara Amiras adopts seven sewer children - three girls (Chrissy, Blythe, Emma) and four boys (Travis, Peter, Lucas, Jase) - all with psychic abilities. 

b. Jubal Sanders - sibling to Joie Trigovise, first introduced in Dark Descent, resides in the Carpathian mountains with his sisters and aiding the Carpathians, comes from pure Jaguar blood-line, has feelings for Jasmine Sangria, jaguar female per Dark Storm.

c. Jasmine Sangria - sister to Juliette De La Cruz, first introduced in Dark Hunger, jaguar female, pregnant as of Dark Possession. 

4. Perils that the Carpathians face:

a. Vampires congregating; injecting a fast acting poison impacting the nervous system; master vampires running together; a multigenerational poison that could attack the healers; fighting the master mage Xavier's remaining two splinters of which one is shared by Sergey and Vadim Malinov per Dark Crime; Xavyion, the surviving High Mage Triplets (Xavier killed in Dark Slayer by Razvan and Ivory Dragonseeker, Xaviero killed in Dark Blood by Zev Tirunul, aided by all the Carpathians and Lycans), rescue psychic females from the clutches of the remaining Malinov brothers so they don’t use them for breeding.

b. Society of Human Vampire Hunters who constantly hunt the Carpathians mistaking them to be Vampires. The Morrison Center for Psychic Research is targeting psychic humans and jaguar females. 

c. Malinov Brothers - introduced in Dark Secret; they were sent to Asia by Vladimir Dubrinsky to fight vampires, instead they become the very thing that they were sent to kill - Kirja Manilov killed by Rafael De La Cruz with aid from Vikirnoff Von Shrieder in Dark Secret; Maxim Malinov killed by Mikhail Dubrinsky in Dark Celebration; Ruslan Manilov is the eldest of them and killed by Zacharias De La Cruz in Dark Predator; Sergey Malinov introduced in Dark Slayer; Vadim Malinov introduced in this plot. 

d. The Lycan/Vampires - Carpathians who deliberately mixed blood with Lycans and voluntarily converted to Vampires - also known as the Sange rau.

5. Lifemate pairs that frequently show their presence, even though they had no main story for them, as of yet:

a. Eric and Celeste – Celeste is pregnant with child in Dark Prince, but no mention of them in the books after.

b. Vlad and Eleanor Belandrake - In Dark Symphony it is shown that she has given birth to Benjamin "Benj" and also adopts Josef - son of another Carpathian pair who are lying in ground now, Lucia and Rodaniver.

c. Tienn and Diedre - Diedre is sister of Vlad.

6. Other Carpathians, Lycans and Jaguars who are waiting for their lifemates or partners as of this book and we meet as the series progresses:

a. Tiberiu Bercovitz - an ancient mentioned in Dark Celebration known to be amazing with weapons. 

b. Luiz De La Cruz - introduced as Luiz Silva, a Jaguar converted to Carpathian by Manolito De La Cruz in Dark Possession, inducted into the Carpathian world of Warriors in Dark Blood.

c. Andre - an ancient Carpathian who keeps mostly to himself, introduced first in Dark Curse, commonly known as The Ghost.

d. Tariq Asenguard - an ancient Carpathian, who was sent to North America by Vlad, introduced first in Dark Curse.

e. Matias, Lojos and Tomas - ancient Carpathians and siblings, triplets, first introduced in Dark Slayer. 

f. The other elite Lycans introduced in Dark Lycan and subsequent books - Daciana Declaw (female elite Lycan), Lykaon, Makoce, Damon Declaw.

g. Gary Daratrazanoff - Introduced as Gary Jansen in the 4th book Dark Magic, revealed to have Jaguar blood and related to Colby and her step siblings in Dark Celebration, converted to Carpathian in Dark Blood after suffering a mortal wound aiding the Carpathians. 18 years since his character had first been mentioned, yet Christine still hasn’t spun a story for him. In one of her blog post on Goodreads in 2018, she however mentions that Gary's story has to wait as his lifemate is a child now. Has she already introduced the child? Or is she basing her on one of her granddaughters' - just like Skyler - and she would wait till the grand daughter would grow in real life before penning a story between her and Gary. 

h. Val Zhestokly - ancient Carpathian legend rescued by Maksim and Blaze from clutches of Vladim Manilov in this plot.

7. Being so many few Carpathian females born, a few females that Christine still manages sneak in her plots are:

a. Shea O’Halloran – lifemate to Jacques Dubrinsky, first female born after more than 500 years, a natural healer. Her story is in Dark Desire.

b. Savannah Dubrinsky - daughter of Prince Mikhail and Raven Dubrinsky; lifemate to Gregori Daratrazanoff. Her story is in Dark Magic.

c. Desari Daratrazanoff - lifemate to Julian Savage, sister to Gregori and Darius; power to sing that could bring peace to all beings. Her story is in Dark Challenge

d. Syndil - lifemate to Barack, with tremendous healing powers and has an affinity to earth. Her story is spread in two books - Dark Challenge and Dark Fire.

e. Francesca Del Ponce - lifemate to Gabriel Daratrazanoff. She is a powerful healer; makes stained glass patterns and quilts that are specific to one's need and bring healing to them. Her story is in Dark Legend. As of Dark Wolf, she is pregnant again. 

f. Natalya Shonski - lifemate to Vikirnoff Von Shrieder. She is part human, part mage and part Dragonseeker. Has ability to see the past of anything that she touches. Her story is in Dark Demon.

g. Ivory Malinov - Lifemate to Razvan Dragonseeker, sister to the Malinov and De La Cruz brothers, ability to weave counteracting spells to Xavier's. Her story is in Dark Slayer.

h. Lara Calladine - lifemate to Nicolas De La Cruz. She is part human, part Carpathian and part Dragonseeker; and a daughter of Razvan Dragonseeker. Her story is in Dark Curse.

i. Branislava "Bronnie" Dragonseeker (Lifemate to Zev Tirunul, her story is in Dark Blood), and Tatijana Dragonseeker (Lifemate to Fenris Dalka, her story is in Dark Lycan).

j. Skyler Daratrazanoff - lifemate to Dimitri Tirunul; adopted by Gabriel and Francesca Daratrazanoff, is Razvan's biological daughter; part Mage, part Human, part Dragonseeker, part Jaguar, part Lycan (as revealed in Dark Blood); Daughter of the Earth. Her story is in Dark Wolf.

k. Gabrielle Sanders - Joie Trigovise and Jubal Sander's sister, introduced first in Dark Descent, but as of Dark Demon she is a Carpathian tied to Vikirnoff Von Shrieder; comes from pure Jaguar blood-line; totally in love with Gary Daratrazanoof, a brilliant scientist.

8. Next Generation Carpathian male and female kids:

a. Tamara - daughter of Gabriel and Francesca Daratrazanoff, born after the Dark Legend.

b. Josef  and Benjamin "Ben" Belandrake - Carpathian male kids, first introduced in Dark Symphony. Nephews to Byron Justicano. In Dark Celebration a budding romance was shown between Josef and Ginny - Colby's step-sister; while in Dark Lycan Skyler mentions that perhaps one or both of Gregori's daughters' may be his lifemate.

c. Jennifer - daughter of Dayan and Corrine Wentworth, born in Dark Melody.

d. Stefan Kane Dubrinsky - Jacques and Shea Dubrinsky's son born in Dark Celebration.

e. Alexandru "Sandu" - Mikhail and Raven Dubrinsky's son, born sometime after Dark Curse.

f. Anastasia Daratrazanoff and Anya Daratrazanoff - twin girls of Gregori and Savannah Daratrazanoff, born in Dark Slayer. As of Dark Lycan, Anya and Anastasia are becoming strong protectors of Alexandru just like Gregori was to Mikhail; Anya more being Alexandru's second-in-command.

g. Andor and <> - Twins (a boy and girl) of Darius and Tempest Daratrazanoff.

h. Isabella Sara Amiras - Falcon and Sara Amiras' daughter, born in Dark Blood. (Sara miscarried the first child she had sometime after Dark Celebration)

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