Review for “Hidden Trump” by Mark Henwick

Hidden Trump Book CoverFor all you urban fantasy/paranormal fans, if you haven’t picked up the “Bite Back” series by Mark Henwick yet you are really missing out.  Hidden Trump is the second novel in the series and just might be even better than the first, Sleight of Hand (see my review for it here).  I am really impressed by this author’s work.  For a summary of what this latest novel is about, I’ll post the novel description below followed by my review.

Amber Farrell, Denver PI, is coming to terms with being part of the paranormal community, but she’s about to find that includes very dangerous responsibilities for her. Nothing is quite what it seems, least of all, Amber herself, and to survive, she must form alliances with powerful groups whose interests are in conflict. But she knows she’s expendable and betrayal is inevitable…

Denver is hosting a meeting of the opposing Athanate creeds who are stirring after a hundred years of peace. War between them would be disastrous for everyone, human and paranormal, and it’s Amber who’s being blamed for the troubles in the run-up to the Assembly.

And it’s going to get very personal…

Let me say first off that this novel moves fast.  I admit that the beginning for both this one and its predecessor were a bit daunting for me because they both dove right into the middle of rather intense scenes.  The reader has to hang on for a bit before they can get their footing and figure out exactly what is going on.  Give it a couple of chapters, though, and you’ll be hooked as the story unfolds and it all becomes clearer.  Mark Henwick is impressive for his intricate plots and the methods he uses to reveal them.  He also has a way of making you really care for Amber and root for her that she’ll come out of things okay.  This is important because just about everything but the kitchen sink is thrown at this former soldier turned “sort of” vampire. She doesn’t always make the right decisions, but you can see why she does what she does and feel bad when things don’t go her way.

More about her past is revealed in Hidden Trump and the reader gets a few hints of where things will go in future novels.  Amber also has to do a lot of soul-searching to figure out where her loyalties should go since the military is turning against her and she isn’t so human anymore.  All the various groups that came up in the first book want Amber for something and most won’t take “no” for an answer. This makes it hard for her to trust anyone.  In fact, there is a point where isn’t so sure she should even trust herself.  I could really feel her uncertainty as she thought through her choices and agreed with her on the ones she ultimately made.

The romantic elements don’t make a lot of progress, but they do make some.  Amber begins to realize life as a vampire is different and being monogamous with one man may not be possible.  She tries to hang on to her old ways by taking things one step further with a werewolf she met in the last novel, but a growing attraction to certain women she interacts with prove elements about her sexuality are changing.  She is getting urges to be with both genders and they are difficult to ignore.  I’ll be honest and say I’m not a fan of the way this is heading.  It reminds me of certain issues seen in the Rachel Morgan series.  Having said that, Mark hasn’t laid it on too heavy and every other thing about his story telling is so amazing that I’m hoping I can keep ignoring it.  Considering the way the vampire world is set up for the Bite Back series, there really is no way around it if Amber is to meet all her needs.  I get that and think it is being done in the most careful way possible.  To be fair, though, there should be some guy on guy action as the author seems to focus on the women too much (hint, hint, Mark).

All in all, I am very pleased with this latest installment.  Hidden Trump grabbed my attention and kept me enthralled the whole time.  It’s definitely one of those books that will cause you to ignore everything around you once you’re into it.  If you enjoy urban fantasy and kick ass heroines, definitely check out this series.  It’s well-written, intelligent, and action packed.  I give it five whips!


~ by Suzie on March 12, 2013.

One Response to “Review for “Hidden Trump” by Mark Henwick”

  1. […] links to his books.  You can also read reviews I’ve written about his Bite Back series here and here.  Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win in his […]

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