Friday, December 5, 2014

Early Review: Double or Nothing by Kristen Painter

I've really been enjoying the Sin City Collectors series, but if you haven't started it yet (and if you're reading this on the day it posted) you still have a few hours to enter the Queen of Hearts giveaway here.
Double or Nothing (Sin City Collectors #6)
Kristen Painter
Release: December 6, 2014
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Summary: Welcome to Las Vegas, home of the Sin City Collectors. The job description is easy: Bring the offending supernatural in to the Boss and don’t ask any questions.

Gage Hudson is a vampire on a mission. All he wants--all he's ever wanted--is to locate the vampire who killed his brother and exact his revenge. Even if that means losing his job as a Gotham City Collector. And he knows what loss feels like, because his desire for revenge has already cost him the love of his life.

Sin City Collector and pixie Minka Winslow has revenge fantasies of her own and they all involve Gage. When he walked out on her with no explanation, she took the heat for the Collection he ruined. Fortunately for him, she's put that part of her life behind her.

At least until the two are forced to work together to stay alive. When an enemy from their past returns to threaten them, they have no choice but to reconcile long enough to survive. Then new information changes everything. Just how much will they gamble to make things work this time?

What’s Collected in Vegas, stays in Vegas...

Review: I'm really enjoying how each book in this series adds a new supernatural creature to the Collectors' world. Minka was actually introduced in Kristen Painter's last novella Dead Man's Hand where she revealed that pixies are the natural enemies of goblins and they have a talent for finding lost children. In Double or Nothing she demonstrates some of their other strengths, including the use of pixie dust. Minka goes out on a suspicious Collection and winds up locked in a cell with her ex-boyfriend Gage.

Gage is the first "good" vampire to appear in the series. (One of Amanda Carlson's novellas has a vampire villain.) So even though he doesn't really add anything new to the mythology, it feels a little bit like a change of pace.

After their breakup two years ago, Gage joined the Gotham City Collectors and has been working in New York. I loved the little glimpse of the Big Apple in this story, including the mention of a supernatural subway, and I hope to get to see more of it. (Though that might require a spin-off series.)

The Alchemist, the villain in this story, is smart, manipulative and kind of terrifying. He knows the weaknesses of each of his captives and how to use them to his advantage. When it comes to physical confrontation though, he was a little bit disappointing. The story has a lot of psychological tension, but not much action until the end. (I wish I could explain that better, but it might be a spoiler.) I wish the level of anxiety from the first half of the story was maintained throughout.

Double or Nothing feels more like a romance to me than most of the other novellas in the series. Yes, they're all romances, but I felt like the adventure and mystery in this story were very much secondary to the relationship. Maybe that's because Gage and Minka already had a history together, so there was no getting-to-know-you phase. And of course that whole locked in a cell thing kind of necessitates dialogue rather than a lot of action. I like these characters, but I miss some of that action-adventure element that Painter's other novellas have.

I'm still really enjoying the creativity of this series and I'm looking forward to seeing what the authors come up with next.

ARC provided by the author

 4 stars


  1. I still need to read Dead Man's Hand and All In. I'm getting behind. I love this series.

    1. I was surprised how close together these last 2 releases were. I almost posted the reviews together.


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