Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review: The Hunt by Linell Jeppsen

This novel is described on Amazon as a story where two vampire factions clash in the Washington State woods during the height of deer season. When I read this, I thought: "Lunchtime!" Ancient creatures meet tourists? It worked for Jurassic Park...

If you are hoping for a major bloodbath, however, you will be disappointed. Two ancient foes do meet in a final conflict that has consequences for the humans who are unfortunate enough to be in the way. Outside of a few well-described deaths, though, the main focus is on the life and relationships of Raphael Goldhawk, half-breed and eventual king of the high vampire council.

In the world Jeppsen creates, vampires are a different, older species than humans. They resemble angels in many ways: they're winged, they have an alien beauty, and most of them have Biblical names (Gabriel, David, Lael). The race has become infertile over the centuries, so their hope of continuation rests with Raphael and his offspring. Raul (non-Biblical name) is the villain of the piece. To Raul and his followers, humans are food and Raphael has no business hanging around with real vampires. This leads to a series of conflicts that resulted in the death of Raphael's wife and a duel between the two vampires two hundred years ago. Raphael spares Raul's life, to his regret.

Jeppsen writes reasonably well, but the novel has serious structural problems. The story begins with the viewpoint of the humans, set in the here and now, but the overwhelming majority of the book is background, telling us the saga of Raphael Goldhawk. I found myself wondering when we were going to return to the present time and rejoin the main storyline. To me, it seems that the story of Raphael was the main storyline and should have been presented as such.

That said, I think that Linell Jeppsen is, overall, a promising writer. She went to the trouble of researching the things she could research for her story and sought out input from others (whom she acknowledges in her introduction). Her human characters are markedly different from her vampires in the way they think, speak, and their background descriptions. The joining of Raphael and Melissa, for example, is much more mythic and dramatic than the 'real folks' relationship of Holly and Brian. The characters of Raphael and his family are compelling enough to follow, despite my comments on the overall novel structure.

About the Author
Linell Jeppsen is a retired grocery store checker and high school custodian. She has been writing her entire life, but was recently chosen by Phyllis Scott Publishing for her novel, The Hunt.
She had previously won third place in a science fiction short story contest for "The Gag Gift", which is featured in Mixed Blessing and other Short Stories and The Last Astronaut.
Linell is now hard at work on her second novel, titled Story Time. It is a science-fiction, post-apocalyptic novel, which is due to be released this fall.
For more information about Linell and her work, please visit:


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