Bloodwalker: Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…
When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.
Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the international performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. Nevertheless, he’s determined to find the culprit and stop them before anyone else dies and the only place he can call home is ripped apart by the murders.
Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravediggers and ghoulish bloodwalkers. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict rules, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.
When more bodies turn up, the killer’s trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable. – Goodreads
L.X Cain put a lot of thought and research into the background for her Bloodwalker novel. The Skomori Bloodwalkers seemed believable enough that I actually spend a few minutes googling various derivations of the name. I needed to see if there was such a thing as Hungarian Bloodwalkers. I found nothing but positive reviews for Bloodwalker. Honestly, I wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or disappointed. It seems like there’s so much potential for a rich and interesting history in/of the clan in general. Nicely done on Cain’s part.
It’s always interesting to feel like you’re getting a glimpse into insular communities. We get that twice, here. First with the Skomori clan and then with the circus people themselves. From what I’ve heard, the ‘what happens in family stays in family’ element that is portrayed in Bloodwalker is very true. Regardless, especially considering the clan seems to be fictional, L.X. Cain makes it feel real. She manages to incite that spark of voyeurism that adds an additional element to her work.
The chapters begin with excerpts from the Skomori’s Bloodwalker book. It’s evident right away from that first excerpt that they are different. Their entire community seems to be based around the one task that they were trusted to perform for years. A task that made them outcasts in the community, even as the community depended on them to perform it. Sylvie is a great character because she’s normal in so many ways. She’s got low self-esteem. She’s not gorgeous or extremely competent in any area. Sylvie’s basically your every day girl who finds herself in one crappy situation after another. I spent a good portion of the novel wondering what big part she was destined to play.
Rurik was an interesting character, too. Very much the ‘Beast’ to Sylvie’s understated Belle. A former strongman, now Security Chief for the Zorka Circus, he does his best to protect ‘the family’. It hurts him when he thinks that one of those family members has started killing young children. But he’s determined to find the culprit and put a stop to things before any other kids get hurt. Soon Rurik and Sylvie cross paths in a most unexpected fashion.
Overall, Bloodwalker was a great read. Even though action happens right from the beginning, it feels like a slow-burn novel. This is one of the very few cases where I didn’t mind that. Especially since the author delivers a satisfying climax to the book. The ending had just enough of a certain something to make me smile without making me want to roll my eyes. Solid job by L.X. Cain!
Interested in reading Bloodwalker? Please consider supporting Sci-Fi & Scary and pre-ordering it on Amazon through this affiliate link.