Blood Justice
David Burton

Light Unseen Media
Trade Paper, 226 pages, $12.00
Review by Sheila M. Merritt

Revenge is sweet; or is it? In Blood Justice by David Burton, there are complications in vindictiveness. Retribution is potent; but the power comes at a price. When Justine (think “just” or “justice”) discovers that her abducted daughter has been raped and murdered, she feels dead inside. Her transformation from doting mother into emotional zombie, and then into vigilante, unfolds like petals from a poisonous plant. What starts off as simply a mystery novel quickly moves to the terrain of horror. Vampires; brutal and seductive, are involved. Author Burton spins Justine’s spiral into the supernatural with a deft hand. He plays upon the relationship between grief and anger, and amplifies upon it. The story is a genre version of Thelma and Louise – with fangs.

The profound emptiness that envelops Justine after her daughter’s death, rallies her rage. She responds to the wrath with a morbid vigor; emotionally, part of her has died. To complete the process on a physical level, Justine seeks the aid of sexy Simone; a self-reliant female vampire who turns the protagonist into one of the undead: “Now that she was dead, she felt more alive than ever.” Simone is sinuously sensual and cements the initiation in a most corporeal manner.

Despite a multi-layered metamorphosis, Justine has not given up human heterosexual delights of the flesh. She’s wild about a cop named Harry, which complicates her vendetta agenda. Prior to Justine’s alteration to blood sucker status, the duo engaged in frenzied coupling. And after her change, they do so again. Harry isn’t pleased that he has a vampire girlfriend with a justifiable grudge. He knows that she has a valid point regarding justice not always being served within the system.

Compromising his position on the police force, he allows his lover to literally get away with murder: “The last thing in the world he wanted was to love somebody so much that they had power over him. It scared and attracted him at the same time, confusing him. Confused was not a good thing for a detective to be.” Needless to say, he isn’t thrilled about his paramour’s involvement with Simone; confusion on another level.

United as women with histories of dastardly dudes, Simone and Justine focus their assault on the evil mastermind behind the abductions of girls. He is also a vampire; capturing the adolescents for sex trafficking, as well as sanguinary sustenance. Savage ravaging is a prelude to the demise of those designated as food sources. The retaliation for his diabolical deeds falls on the capable shoulders of the femmes fatales allies. They are pale, rested, and ready.

David Burton’s tale of heroine hegemony is a variation on Old Testament recompense. An eye for an eye, in this case, is an evisceration for an evisceration. Gory and glorifying in its take on reciprocal reparation, Blood Justice allows the ladies to rampage. They have good reason. Burton adroitly balances titillation and feminism. His women, though abused and scarred, possess strength and determination. The book will appeal to readers of both genders; perhaps for different reasons.

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