I was very impressed with the first two books in the Jaz Parks series by Jennifer Rardin, which I reviewed here. Jennifer has created a fascinating world in which others (such as weres and vampires) are known to exist, and in fact, some of them work for the government. Vayl is a 250 year old vampire working as an assassin for the CIA, and Jaz Parks is his Sensitive human partner. In Once Bitten, Twice Shy and Another One Bites the Dust, Jennifer set up the world and the characters, leaving us with an elite team of three assassins plus an accomplished seer and a incredibly talented inventor. In her third book, Biting the Bullet, she takes us several leaps forward with a book that has a dual focus on Jaz’s relationships and continuing their fight against paranormal terrorists.
You read “I couldn’t put it down” in a lot of book reviews, as well as, “I was on the edge of my seat”. Biting the Bullet is a book that will keep your stomach in knots, keep you on the edge of your seat, and quite possibly cause you to burn dinner because you can’t put it down. Jennifer Rardin’s third book in her Jaz Parks series not only lives up to the first two, in some ways it surpasses them. Now that the background information is out of the way, we can focus on the current mission to eliminate a terrorist in Iran known as “The Wizard”, as Jaz’s team works in conjunction with her twin brother David’s Special Ops team. Add in the tension between Jaz and David (he blames her for his wife’s death), plus the growing sexual tension between Jaz and Vayl, and Biting the Bullet doesn’t let you catch your breath.
Jennifer Rardin’s books include a religious perspective with quite a bit of discussion of Hell, Heaven, and angels, in addition to the expected mystical phenomenon. Jaz pushes herself to protect the souls of the people she loves, in addition to protecting their bodies. While there is a lot of discussion of necromancy and zombies in Biting the Bullet, we continue to see Jaz using dreams to discuss options with her angel adviser Raoul. Jaz and her twin’s late wife had a pact that they would each kill the other if they were turned into vampires to save their souls. As Jaz spends more and more time with Vayl, I wonder if she is rethinking her side of that pledge, and if we will learn more about vampires and souls…
Overriding the excitement and sexual tension is a firm patriotic belief that drives Jaz and her team in Biting the Bullet and the rest of the series. In a time when it isn’t always popular to be patriotic, they are drawn to doing what is right above all else. Regardless of your political views, eliminating terrorists with ties to fiends from Hell can be agreed to be a Good Thing! It is fascinating to see the story arc develop, as different members of the terrorist organization are targeted by Vayl and Jaz – we learn about the terrorist organization along with them, and are pulled along for the ride as they find supernatural solutions to evil. The depth of the characters and the series is displayed as we follow not only the dramatic tension, but also become invested in the relationships between characters, we care about their family members, and we wait anxiously for romantic developments.
Biting the Bullet is a very impressive book – whether you call it vampire fiction, urban fantasy, paranormal, military mystery, or any other label. Many authors have trouble keeping the reader’s interest after the first book, but there is no such problem here! I highly recommend all 3 books in the Jaz Parks series that have been published thus far, and have only one complaint – I have to wait until August for Bitten to Death (Jaz Parks, Book 4)?!
This book was received from the publisher for review