PRIMACY OF DARKNESS is the third but hopefully not the last Brooklyn Shadows novel. The books follow the adventures of Leo Malone, a vampire turned in the early part of the 20th century and who has since become a sort of pseudo-private detective. He's a loud, brash, and unlikable antihero that is nevertheless quite charming due to his complete lack of cares to give the world.
The premise is that Leo has found himself hunted by the child of a massacre he performed in Vietnam during the height of his blood madness. War and vampires don't mix with the amount of carnage during the conflict causing him to enter a fugue state. Biting one of the children there, he turned her into a bloodling and she has been hunting vampires ever since.
Leo has bigger problems than the ghosts of his past, though. Jack the Ripper turns out to have been turned into a vampire at the end of his horrifying spree. Having spent the past century in various parts of the world where missing women are not going to be noticed. Revenge and a sense of the theatrical have brought him to New York, though, and Leo is the only warden who has a chance of stopping Jack.
Leo is not a heroic character and it's interesting to see him forced to deal with the morality of his past actions. I personally was 100% on his side against the people hunting him. Maybe it's the previous books or maybe it's my view of vampire hunters as axiomatically evil but I wanted to see a big conflict between the two groups. One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the fact it advanced the stories of minor characters like Mo Money and Detective Castillo. The latter finally pieces together that Leo Malone is a vampire here and we have a pretty good confrontation between the two. The hoped-for romance I'd wanted to see doesn't happen but it still establishes them on more even terms.
The mythology of the setting is expanded with the experimentation of scientists on vampire blood as a potential medical miracle. Obviously, most vampires have no interest in helping other people with their blood and one of the few things that keeps the peace is the fact that only a few people are compatible with the transformation. The vast majority of people turned by a vampire are made into vampires. The "Cure" can create many more vampires and the research can potentially bestow many of the benefits of being a vampire without even becoming undead. I liked this angle as it opens up a number of new story avenues that are only beginning to be explored by the end of the novel.
Jack the Ripper is a bit of a cheat as a villain, being a historical villain that already has a bunch of street cred but given I'd used Dracula in my own books, I have no room to talk. He proves to be a nasty and unpleasant cultured killer that is playing an elaborate game with Leo. It's a nice contrast to our antihero who finds such theatrics ridiculous. After two books of dealing with "normal" villains, it's nice to see Leo struggle with a genuine supervillain.
If I had a complaint, I felt that the ending could have been a bit more tragic. Leo Malone's story has always been more than a little depressing and what makes him enjoyable is that he doesn't fall prey to the idea he's one of the "good guys" or anything but a selfish killer. Still, I can always hope for the horrific tragedy I hoped for to strike next book.