on October 17, 2014
The Vigilante: Book One In a dystopian near future, New York City has become the epicenter of decadence—gambling, the flesh trade, a playground for the wealthy. And underneath? Crime, fueled by “Dead Bolt,” a destructive designer drug. This New City is where Nox Boyet leads a double life. At night, he is the Vigilante, struggling to keep the streets safe for citizens abandoned by the corrupt government and police. During the day, he works in construction and does his best to raise his adopted teenaged son, Sam. A mysterious letter addressed to Sam brings Nox in direct contact with “model” Cade Creel, a high-end prostitute working at the Iron Butterfly Casino. Suspicion gives way to an intense attraction as dark figures from Nox’s past and the mysterious peddlers of Dead Bolt begin to descend—and put all their lives in danger. When things spin out of control, Cade is the only person Nox can trust to help him save Sam.
Faith, Love and Devotion is one of my favorite series and so I was really excited to see this new dystopian series by Tere Michaels. But this one was much harder to get into and it lacked the emotional intensity that I was expecting.
In this story, New York City was decimated by a natural disaster, and the citizens that survived were displaced from their prior lives. Of course, all the crooks took advantage of confusion to establish a stronghold—kind of like Gotham pre-Bruce Wayne.
Sixteen year old Nox Boyet parents “died” during the mayhem, and he almost lost his life to a person hunting his family. But in his place, Nox was reborn as father to Sam, construction worker by day and a vigilante trying to rid the city of the vermin at night. The crime lords were flooding the city with a new designer drug called Dead Bolt and so they were either hooking people on drugs, encouraging people to gamble at the new casinos or work in sex industry.
One day, a famous model arrives at Nox and Sam’s doorstep with a letter for Sam claiming to know the whereabouts of Sam’s biological parents. Cade Creel, model to most, was really a high priced rent boy who worked at the Iron Butterfly Casino. Cade claimed no actual knowledge of contents of the letter, but Nox decided to follow him back to his workplace to find out who was targeting his son. That began Nox’s tap dance around Cade and the beginning of what would unfold as a relationship. It also marked the unraveling of Nox’s past and who was after him and Sam.
I have to admit that this story lacked emotional depth for me. It definitely had the lawlessness of a destroyed society, but it lacked hope of a community trying to rebuild itself. It was dark and gritty from page one, and it remained that way to the end of the book 1. I also never felt the chemistry between connection with Nox and Cade. The only real connection I felt was between Sam and Cade, a sort of camaraderie. I was confused for most of the story and was trying to figure out where it was headed. At the end of book 1, I didn’t feel settled. I know it’s a book 1 and thus the story continues, but I still wanted to feel some measure of resolution of this leg of the journey. Everything is still hanging up in the air and I guess book 2 will address the mystery of the characters past in more detail.
This book didn’t quite meet my expectations, but I will read book 2 to allow the author to continue building the characters and the world. Do not go into this book expecting an epic, emotional love story, you will be disappointed. I am hoping that this book was the birth of new heroes to stand up for community against the corruption laden police force. Sort of like the beginning of Batman in Gotham, I expect to see Nox, Caden and Sam being partners in the vigilante movement.
*Special Thanks to Dreamspinner Press for the reading copy.