August 19, 2012

Review: The Newfoundland Vampire by Charles O'Keefe

Title: The Newfoundland Vampire
Author: Charles O’Keefe
Series: Newfoundland Vampire series #1
Genre: Dark Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Penumbra Publishing
Release Date: April 12th 2012
Format: eBook/Paperback

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Rating: 4 Bad Boys – Really Enjoyed It
Reviewer: Kat

Author Summary

Like every other geek alive, Newfoundland native Joseph O’Reily secretly wants to be a superhero. At thirteen he fantasized about being a vampire, and ten years later he’s still fantasizing – but mostly about a beautiful redheaded woman who has eyes only for him. The one thing different about Joseph’s adult fantasy is that, amazingly, it comes true one night when he goes to a local university pub. Cassandra Snow, literally the woman of his dreams, invites him to her place for an evening of personal pleasure. Of course he’s not going to say no. But when strange things start happening afterward, Joseph quickly learns that not all dreams should come true.

Cassandra has plans for him – forever. And those plans don’t include daytime activities. An animal lover and recent vegetarian, Joseph wrestles with all the weird changes he’s experiencing after his encounter with Cassandra. Eternal youth and amazing power come at a price that is perhaps higher than he can afford. The constant hunger for blood and the secrets Cassandra harbors test his resolve and his mental and physical limits. And then there’s the fact that a two-hundred-year-old vampire is after his head – literally.

Joseph’s night vision improves dramatically, giving him a glimpse of the darker side of the world and the terrible evil of vampires who walk among humans. As he tries to balance his regular life with the new reality of his vampire existence, he is determined to hold onto his personal convictions and what he values most – his humanity.

My Thoughts

The Newfoundland Vampire is a very compelling first novel in a new series.   The author has created a unique story world of the origins of vampires and a secretive council that watches from behind the scenes.  A well-structured mix of action and character development resulted in an exciting read full of anticipation with believable characters. 

In a paranormal romance, I tend to focus more on character development. While reading this novel, I found myself really caring about what happened to the hero and heroine and fretting when things were tense and not going their way.  I particularly like how the author portrayed the villain.  He didn’t worry about showing a little good like some suggest you might want to (you know the good and bad side in everyone. Blah blah blah…) the villain is insane and evil with no desire to be any other way. He’s bad, always was bad, and continues to be bad. Bottom line. In my opinion, this was much more effective in this novel.

There are some great teasers throughout the novel that even bigger baddies and threats exist, providing great lead-ins to future novels in the series.   

This novel is nicely written and all elements are packaged in an engaging and enjoyable read.  

About the Story

The first novel in this series takes us into the dark world of vampires and Joseph’s transformation.  He’s fantasized about being a vampire all his life and now finds himself living out that fantasy. However, despite his secret desire, he finds it much more difficult than he expected. He struggles with the change and the realization that he will have to let go of his human emotions and ideals.

Discovering that this world is much more violent than he had anticipated and that some have hidden agendas, he doesn’t have much time to adjust to his new life.  He’s thrown into situations where he must defend himself and Cassandra from an evil villain out to destroy them both.

About the Characters

Joseph is the sweet guy next door with a heart of gold that you would trust to come feed your pet while you’re away. Totally reliable, dependable and kind.  After his turning, he becomes the tormented hero that we all love to read about. He’s full of inner conflict, struggling to reconcile his new craving for blood with his caring of humans and is hesitant to become what is now in his nature to be.

Cassandra is our heroine and she’s a very interesting and intriguing character. Mysterious and alluring, she’s a nice mix of good and bad.  She’s dealt with a lot of suffering in her 200+ years as a vampire and the author made me really care about her. At the same time, she is manipulative so there were instances where it was hard to sympathize with her.  I really enjoy it when an author can elicit these conflicting emotions towards a character. It’s a true testament to the skill of a writer.

I already mentioned above how I enjoyed the villain John who is Cassandra’s ex. He’s a fabulous portrayal of what a villain should be.

The story is a little light on supporting characters; however, this story is about Joseph and his transformation, so it’s understandable. I suspect we’ll see more characters in future novels as the adventures of Joseph and Cassandra continue. 

About the Writing

This novel is a fast paced with lots of action but not so much that we miss the point of the story - Joseph’s struggle and gradual acceptance of his new life. The author balances this well making the story more believable.

I don’t think I’m giving away any spoilers with this but I just want to mention a different technique the author uses brilliantly. When Cassandra is revealing past events to Joseph, the author sets it up so that it’s done through blood exchanges.  I found it to be more effective and compelling instead of the author simply narrating what happened. Plus it’s really hot when they do so.

Bottom Line

Overall, this novel is a great start to a new series. The author delivers a different spin on the origins of vampires, a compelling story of a new vampire with lots of potential for future adventures.  Recounted in a unique voice, this novel is well structured and pace-perfect.  I was entertained from beginning to end. If you enjoy paranormal romance that is a little on the darker side, you will enjoy reading this novel.  I’m certainly looking forward to Book #2 in the series.

Happy Reading!!

4 Bad Boys – Really Enjoyed It!

Buy The Newfoundland Vampire Now…The Newfoundland Vampire


  1. I love books written by male authors, they always have a good balance of action and romance which keeps the story/series exciting. Great find!

    1. You should check it out Braine! I think you'll like it.

  2. I look forward to reading this one - looks like a nice series to dive into. Thanks!

    1. You're welcome. You'll have to come back and let us know what you thought Donna.

  3. Hi Kat :)

    Wow! What a wonderful review =) Thank you so very much. I'm am so glad you enjoyed it. I tried very hard to make interesting characters easy that were easy to relate with. I always wanted to be as unique as a good with vampires and their powers/abilities. If you thought John was evil wait until you see more of Donald (and other baddies) in book 2 ;)I agree with you, I like my villains to be just plain nasty, no chance for redemption or redeeming qualities, than you can love to hate them :-)thanks again for this excellent review, I really appreciate it.


    1. You're welcome Charles and thanks for stopping in to comment. Can't wait to read about Donald and what that mysterious council is up to. Make sure to let us know!

  4. Thank you for the wonderful review!

    Pat, Penumbra Publishing

    1. You're welcome Pat and thanks for liking it.

  5. Nice review. You had so much to convey! I really like to discover new Vampire mythology. I also like how you said you concentrate on the characters in romance stories. I'm glad you liked the people populating the story. I may just try this one...I'll at least put it on my TBR list!

    1. Thanks Midnyte! I appreciate the comment. and yes, I'm all about the character development when reading a romance novel. If you read, please come back and let me know how you felt about it.

  6. Awesome review hon. I am so glad you liked it. Charles just started book 2 and said it will be out early next year. Can't wait for it. Great review again :)