Hard Bitten is the fourth book in Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series and I was admittedly at a slight disadvantage trying to pull out the backstory because I haven’t read the first three books. Amazingly, this was still a really fun read even though I didn’t know all the details. Chloe Neill knows how to tell a story and even if her subject material is not incredibly innovative, she still manages to keep things moving and make things interesting.
Merit (she goes by her last name) is a good-looking, trash talking, ass-kicking vampire who lives in Chicago. She was involuntarily made into a vampire after being attacked and nearly dying anyway. That is a plus in my book because she valued her humanity. Merit is also the daughter of a wealthy businessman and politically tied in to the city of Chicago. To top it all off, she is romantically involved with the head vampire of the “House” that she belongs to. This is all pretty well-covered ground in urban fantasy.
The Cadogan House, where Merit lives, has been the focus of a lot of violence and turmoil. Much of that has been instigated by the leader of another vampire house and Merit and her off-again boyfriend, Ethan Sullivan, are trying to keep things from getting even further out of control. In order to do that, Merit is drawn into the investigation of the murder of humans by out of control vampires. If she doesn’t get it figured out, her House will be shut down.
This is all good stuff. I like the way that Neill tells the story even if she uses some terms a little too often. Merit is a good heroine and the supporting characters are all pretty well developed, even the bad guy vampires. The best part of Neill’s writing is that she is not afraid to kill important characters! I absolutely love the fact that she is not so in love with her characters that she can’t bear to write one out of the story. For me, what was an otherwise decent, but common, urban fantasy novel became something much better because the author has the guts to make things hurt.