Meet Lawson. A cynical, wise-cracking vampire charged with protecting the Balance between vampires and humans, he is part cop, part spy, and part commando — James Bond with fangs. Lawson mixes shrewd cunning with unmatched lethality to get his job done. He tries his best to dismantle conspiracies, dispatch bad guys, and live long enough to get home. In The Kensei, a battle-weary Lawson heads to Japan for a little rest and some advanced ninja training. But he no sooner steps off the plane than lands in the midst of a Yakuza turf war orchestrated by a shadowy figure known as the Kensei. With the help of Talya, a former KGB-assassin, Lawson must put a stop to the Kensei’s organ trafficking networks, prevent the creation of an army of vampire-human hybrids, and save his own skin in the process.
I have a new favorite badass and his name is Lawson! I was a little leery when I started this book because I'm not usually a fan of martial arts action but I thought that a ninja vampire sounded pretty awesome, and it turns out that I was right. Lawson is battle worn and tired, just wants a small vacation before returning to the world of being a vampire Fixer, but trouble just seems to follow him wherever he goes, despite the fact that he is supposed to be off the grid. Being a Fixer for the vampire council is a difficult job, rife with violence, and Lawson uses his vast sense of humor (aka being a total smart-ass) to keep things in perspective and preserve his sanity. However, he also demonstrates a vulnerability and yearning that is rare for such a dominant, larger than life character.
The Kensei himself is a diabolical and chilling villain, an extremely evil mad scientist type that has extraordinary power. He operates in the Japanese underground with ease, fooling even the vampire council that has believed him to be dead for over a decade. He is made even more dangerous by his need for revenge.
The details about both Japan and being a ninja were woven throughout the story without being overpowering, and I enjoyed some of the pop culture references. This book is finely balanced with just the right amount of action adventure, character development, and even a bit of a romance.
"It's only advice if you choose to use it. Right now, they are only words floating around in the night air."- Yuki, page 46 of arc copy
Take my advice, buy this book. And if you are anything like I am that will lead to a mad scramble for the previous books, just to satisfy the neurosis that doesn't like reading anything out of order. And if you are looking for more awesome ninja info, or just want to browse the booklist, check out Jon's website. I even saw that the Lawson books might get a tv show *fingers crossed* but I couldn't find anything concrete.
*Reviewed by Anna Dougherty for VampChix
Stop back to VampChix on Monday 24th, when Jon guests!