Rajmund

D.B. Reynolds
Rajmund
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Publisher
ImaJinn Books
Release Date
July 2010
ISBN
9781933417073
Genre
Paranormal Romance

SUMMARY
New York City vampire Rajmund Gregor is the undisputed master of The Big Apple. He bows to no one but his Sire, the Vampire Lord Krystof, who has ruled the Northeast for hundreds of years. But when Krystof summons Rajmund to his headquarters in Buffalo, Raj finds his master slowly descending into madness and his territory crumbling around him. Raj is the only one of Krystof's children strong enough to seize power, but he'll have to save his master before he can destroy him. Several women have gone missing and the local police are convinced a vampire is behind it. Is Krystof so lost to reality that he's capturing and murdering human women? Is a rogue vampire moving into Krystof's territory for the kill? Or is it something far more insidious, something that could threaten the existence of vampires everywhere? Sarah Stratton is living a lie. Her past holds a secret she shares with no one-not even her good friend Cynthia Leighton, the West Coast vampire lord's mate. It's a secret that could destroy her carefully constructed life as a professor at a Buffalo university. It's also a secret that could save the lives of the missing women. To save them, however, she must enter Buffalo's vampire community and put herself into the care of Rajmund Gregor. But can she trust Raj, the dangerously seductive vampire who wants to lay claim to far more than her secrets?

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Aug 31, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
212 people found the following review helpful
I'll admit to being a little nervous about an installment of the Vampires in America that didn't star Cyn and her Lord Raphael. But let me assure you, my fears were all in vain. RAJMUND is another great addition to the series, a passionate, suspenseful story that absolutely should not be missed by fans of the series.

Professor Sarah Stratton has spent a good deal of her life hiding a unique gift that made her childhood a nightmare, but could be the key to solving a number of heartbreaking crimes against women. Though she is finally living her dream of teaching history, the transition from California to cold, lonely Buffalo is not an easy one to make. Hoping to lift her spirits, her closest friend Cyn arranges to come out and visit. A night of watching Cyn and Raphael canoodling might not necessarily be best way to lift Sarah out of the doldrums, but the night suddenly becomes infinitely more interesting when she is introduced to Rajmund Gregor, right hand man to the Vampire Lord of the Northeast.

Handsome, charming and powerful, Raj's mind might be on business, but his eyes are clearly on Sarah. Reality intrudes, however, upon her return to Buffalo, where she learns that several young women from her University have gone missing, and that it is assumed that vampires are once again to blame. Eager to help in the investigation but unwilling to admit to the gift that gives her information on the missing girls' whereabouts, Sarah tries to pass herself off as a kind of liaison to the New York vampire community—an act that brings her once again face to face with Rajmund.

As far as Raj is concerned, Sarah's appearance is perhaps both the best and the worst thing that has happened to him in his long, long life. She challenges him and turns him on and makes him feel things he thought himself incapable of feeling, but with the vampires being blamed for the disappearance of several human girls from blood houses around Buffalo and his own master teetering on the brink of madness, there is no way Raj can take the risk to act on his desires. But no matter how hard he tries to keep her at a distance and shield her from the darker side of the life he lives, Sarah manages to slip past his defenses, into his heart and into the very dangerous world of the blood houses. But when Sarah puts herself in the path of the very power that Raj is trying to defeat, he realizes he has no choice but to claim Sarah as his own and prepare himself for the fight of his undead life…

Up until this point in the series, we have seen the vampire world from the perspective of the Lords themselves, but Rajmund is in a unique and far more difficult position. Krystof is the oldest of the vampire lords, and while he might not be mad in ‘fiddling-while-Rome-burns' sense, his paranoia and ineffective leadership is most assuredly spelling the end of his reign. Raj is the only one of his children with enough power to take over control of the disintegrating territory, but with that power comes the very real possibility that Krystof will attempt to kill him before he has the chance to challenge his authority.

I was fascinated watching the game that Raj has to play, corralling Krystof's wayward vampires, building his power base and protecting his own while still maintaining the balance of power in the northeast. It's no wonder he is so deeply troubled over his relationship with Sarah, but I have to admit that watching this incredibly powerful, charismatic vampire stress out only endeared him to me further.

As with Raphael before him, we learn the story of Raj's turning and the traumatic way Krystof forced him into immortality. His memory of that long-ago night has shaped Raj's character irrevocably. But as his phenomenal second-in-command, Emelie, will attest, it changed him for the better. He is a deeply caring, considerate master, even though he'd probably hate to hear me say that. And his tenderness comes out in his dealing with Sarah, as well. There is no doubt whatsoever that Raj is an alpha male among alpha males, but he is a vastly different—and somewhat more relatable— kind of vampire from Raphael (and since we first meet him during his meeting with Raphael, the comparison is quite interesting).

And I know that I'm biased, but having a history professor as the heroine of this story made my entire day. More than that, though, Sarah is a strong, independent and resourceful character that I could completely support. She is undoubtedly in over her head with this investigation, but she never lets her fears conquer her or her scarred past define her future. She is a passionate defender of the helpless young women in the case and tireless in trying to help, even at the risk of driving Raj out of her life. Her assumptions about vampires are a little harsh at times, but when the details of her childhood and the way her psychic gifts were handled as a child are revealed, I can completely understand why she jumped to the conclusions that she did.

I think I got so caught up in Raj's personal journey and his relationship with Sarah that I may have missed some of the finer points of the mystery angle of the book, but I would have appreciated a little more explanation as to the motivation of some of the characters involved in the conspiracy. That being said, I was genuinely on the edge of my seat during the final showdown between Raj and Krystof and might have been swooning just a bit at some of Raj's more demonstrative attempts to woo Sarah.

The atmosphere and world-building in this series is simply exceptional—I was particularly interested in the explanation as to why there are so few female vampires. It's details like this, a willingness to tackle the trickier points of the genre that make these books so worthwhile. And with the addition of a cliffhanger of epic proportions in the last paragraphs of the story, I can promise you that the Vampires in America series is still a must read.
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