Homicide detective Samantha Brown is a tough, highly decorated cop. But twelve lonely years after she nearly died of a gunshot wound, she aches with a deep inner longing. In pursuit of a deranged killer, her only clue is a medieval cross inscribed "Lucan"-the name of the owner of a new nightclub near the murder scene. Drawn into a seamy underworld, Samantha falls for Lucan-who believes he's a vampire and Samantha is his reincarnated first love. Now, she must save this mysterious, seductive man who seems beyond redemption if he is to fulfill her deepest, darkest desires.
I didn't care for Lucan, the featured Templar knight-turned-vampire, not one little bit. With the exception of a decent sense of humor and allowing for the raw deal he got from the Darkyn King when he was appointed the King's Assassin, I didn't find much of anything that would be appealing enough to overlook his affinity for mind control, especially when sex is involved. His hands are weapons of mass destruction, deadly to whoever he touches when he's not wearing his gloves (except for Samantha Brown, of course). Having been released from his King's service, Lucan heads to Miami to open a goth nightclub so that he might annoy Michael Cyprien, his local liege and sworn enemy. There he leads a life of casual sex and general boredom until a woman is found murdered on a bench at the beach, wearing a big gaudy cross with Lucan's name on it. She's Lucan's latest in a long list of women he's discarded and when Samantha Brown shows up at his office to question him about the woman's death, he believes that she is his long dead love, the woman who chose mortality over him several hundred years ago. He's a sophisticated caveman and one of the main elements of this book is whether Lucan is a hero or the villain.
Another element of this installment is the subplot in all the other Darkyn books - the women that become Darkyn and what the Brethren did to them. Samantha Brown has been a detective for several years and was shot a while back by a fellow detective who became obsessed with her. Having a cop for a stalker is a difficult thing, I would imagine. Samantha also happens to be one of the little girls that the Brethren experimented on; Alexandra Keller discovers the truth about Samantha's background and how she was adopted from the Chicago area, just as Alex was. Viehl has based her new Shadowlight series on these women, the ones who can mate with the Darkyn and be turned safely, and I'm interested to see where she goes with it.
Dark Need is not best of this series, not even close. There's a murder mystery that surrounds a romance that smacks of Christine Feehan's Carpathian's series (not a favorite either) with the continuation of Alex and John Keller's fight against the Brethren. (I keep leaving John Keller out of these reviews and that is not on purpose but his part of the story just doesn't stand out for me.) I had originally graded this book a B- but I've changed that to a C. I wish it had been better.
Next up: Night Lost