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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Review: The Vampire, The Handler, and Me by Eileen Sheehan

The Vampire, the Handler, and Me
by Eileen Sheehan
eBook ISBN: 9781629293103
Print ISBN: 9781629293110
Eternal Press
Genre: Paranormal
Sub Genre: Vampire
Plus-Novel of 102410 words
Heat rating: 2
Edited by Kiera Smith
Cover Artwork by Dawné Dominique
In a romantic triangle of good and bad, it's hard to tell who is good and who is bad.

Lizzy Ewing is caught in a romantic triangle between a two enemies; the handsome vampire, Nevi, and the hunky handler, Geoffrey. A handler herself, Lizzy must choose between Nevi and Geoffrey. One wants her for all the right reasons and one doesn't. Will she discover who is who before the bad destroys the good?

Diner employee Lizzy Ewing is a misfit of sorts. Surrounded by privilege most of her life, she opts for a humble, somewhat solitary existence in her lakefront cottage. But it’s a new year, and within 24 hours, Lizzy meets two magnetic men. A roadside stop leads her to the mysteriously dapper Nevi Sharpe and a family dinner introduces her to the ruggedly assertive Geoffrey Jenkins. And so unravels the love triangle that underlies this story. Both players in the paranormal world; one a vampire, one a ‘handler,’ it is unclear to the reader who is the better man until the end of the story. The romantic woes of Lizzy run parallel to something of a murder plot; however, this portion of the tale remains largely underdeveloped.

Sheehan is creative. I liked the idea of the contingent of ‘handlers’; slowly aging agents of righteousness who ‘handle’ the miscreants of the supernatural world. I enjoyed her tale of origins surrounding handlers and vampires, which was fresh and innovative with a slight sci-fi edge. The cover design for the book is attractive and compelling.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like Lizzy as a main character. I found her abundantly self-absorbed and not in a sassy, unapologetic way, which can be humorous and entertaining. When confronted with the death of a friend, her reaction is unauthentic and selfish. She makes odd head-scratching choices, especially in the midst of chaos and danger. Navy wool slacks and mohair sweater dress aside, Lizzy just doesn’t have enough depth or interest of character for me. Plus, she drives under the influence of alcohol, and while I appreciate her need to hit the bottle once in a while, drinking and driving is just unforgiveable.

And while the plot is interesting enough, at times the writing is difficult to navigate. While at a New Year’s party, Lizzy reflects on the party refreshments: “I would have inspected it more in depth if the jolt to my body hadn’t been all the opening my stomach needed to coerce purging of the horrendous hors d’oeuvres and swill I’d pummeled it with for the last few hours.” The writing thins out a bit as the story gets going, but sentences like this are common. Furthermore, the author has a habit of revealing big information in an anti-climactic way, while inconsequential information is given primary focus. Such is the case with the author’s nearly full-page anecdote bestowing the virtues of gas inserts in fireplaces.

I’m not sure if this is the end of the line for Lizzy Ewing. I would read another installment set in this world as I am intrigued by the handler concept. Overall, however, I found this book too cluttered and lacking in development to earn my true devotion.

2 ½ sheep

Bianca Greenwood

About the Author:
Eileen Sheehan is from Scartaglin, County Kerry, now living in Killarney. Her first collection, Song of the Midnight Fox (Doghouse Books) was published in 2004. Winner of the inaugural Writers' Week Listowel, Poetry Slam, 2004 and the Brendan Kennelly Poetry Award 2006. She is on the Poetry Ireland Éigse Éireann Writers in Schools Scheme and has been employed by County Kerry VEC teaching Creative Writing at Killarney Technical College. She was a founder and co-ordinator of the Bricín Winter Arts Festival, Killarney.

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