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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Review - Mask of the Serpent by S. W. Vaughn

Title: House Phoenix book 3: Mask of the Serpent

Author: S. W. Vaughn

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Buy Mask of the Serpent Here!

Rating: You Need to Read

Reviewed By: Janelle

No matter who loses, the bad guy wins

Drug lord and self-professed saint Diego Mendez is a man of his word. He’s watched two of his lieutenants die, thanks to Angel and House Phoenix. Unfortunately, he’s promised a certain crooked cop that he won’t seek revenge unless Phoenix hits him first. When Angel makes a run on his turf, Mendez decides it’s enough of a loophole to act. He kidnaps Angel’s lieutenant, Jenner, intent on breaking him—and killing him.

But Jenner is just as nasty and mean as Mendez, and breaking him is no easy task. His secret past has conditioned him for survival at any price. And Mendez has a secret of his own—his son is dying, and he’s been reduced to watching helplessly while it happens. One of them will triumph, one will fall. But in this game, no matter what happens...the bad guy wins.

I openly admit I love this series, I gave the first two books each a Gotta Read, and with good reason. All three installments thus far are well constructed stories that expand on both individual characters and the world as a whole. But unlike the other two, this book just doesn’t feel as tights and has several plot points that don’t seem to go anywhere.

To say Jenner and Angel’s relationship is complicated is something of an understatement. So Angel should be feeling something, even if it is guilt over a lack of feelings. Instead his thoughts on the disappearance of his partner are all but left out, and at times he seems almost detached from the whole event.

On the other hand a lot is learned about both Jenner and Mendez, who until now have been almost antagonists without a cause. They both become more rounded and show a softer side to their usual hard edge.

Overall, this is still a great story, just not the quality I have become accustomed to from this author.

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