Two Minute Review: The Vampire Shrink by Lynda Hilburn

Friday, May 25, 2012
Author: Lynda Hilburn
Genre: supernatural fiction
Series: Kismet Knight, PhD., Vampire Psychologist #1
Pages: 336 (Nook ARC edition)
Published: first October 2007, reissued April 2012
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 2.5/5

A sizzlingly sexy urban fantasy sure to feed the hunger of ravenous, vampire-loving fans.

Kismet Knight, a brainy Denver-based psychologist with a stalled career and a nonexistent love life, is about to have her world rocked. Not only does her newest patient, Midnight, long to become a vampire, but the teenager insists that a coven of the undead hangs out at a local goth club. The always-rational Kismet dismisses Midnight's claims as the delusions of an attention-starved girl--until bodies start turning up drained of blood and the hottest self-proclaimed vampire ever to walk the face of the earth enters her office.

What's real? What's not? As inexplicable events and romantic opportunities pile up, along with the corpses, Kismet finds herself in a whirlwind of passion, mystery, and danger. But this tough and funny heroine--who doesn't do damsel in distress--is about to turn the vampire-meets-girl convention on its head.

I'll take half the credit for my disappointment with The Vampire Shrink. There's just nothing new here, when it had the potential to be one of  a kind. Unofortuantely, I got the same old story, the same old characters. I'm sadly disappointed - this had the potential to be like Interview With A Vampire, but, you, know, actually good. With narrative introspection into the state of vampirism without being so blindingly boring as Anne Rice's faux-journalistic endeavor was. Some readers, especially those with a voracious and appreciative appetite for all things fanglike (maybe the Twi-Moms that Kismet takes potshots at?), will read this and love it. I just could never get into the story being told; I never found the 'mystery' a t the heart of everything to be compelling, or really even a focus of the narration. In the end, I think reception for this is much like Royal Street, which has garnered high reviews from others but I personally fought to finish. I was lured to this particular novel by the unique idea of a human psychologist to the undead - and evil, murder-y vampires at that.  So it's easy to imagine my dismay when that idea is further and further abandoned in favor of a much less interesting and much more predictable urban fantasy plotline about sexy head vampire, Devereux. 

I was never really engaged in this novel - the first hundred pages are particularly difficult and layered with clunky dialogue and endless exposition. Details that could easily have been shown or subtly woven into casual conversation are blatantly - and oddly - stated. Kismet is so wooden as a narrator that it's hard to get a feel for her as a person, much less view her as a conflicted and engaging woman. Her prolonged refusal to accept Midnight's claims got old, fast and hurt her credibility when she so abruptly changes perspective a few chapters on. For a rewrite of a previously published novel, The Vampire Shrink Pt. II: This Time With More Feeling (or should that be "The Vampire Shrink: The Redux"? Or "The Revamped Vampire Shrink!") could still stand to do with some authorial and editorial work. I so much wanted to like this, but so much of it strains feels familiar, or done before: the main character is too perfect (especially in the looks department. A mix of Megan Fox and Angelina Jolie? Really? I am supposed to relate to this character?) and the plot is far too predictable and typical for the PNR/UF genres. As for nearly everyone else present and accounted for in the cast here, they all feel familiar and uniformly indistinct.

Maybe the main reason (after the fist listless and exposition-heavy introduction) I couldn't get into The Vampire Shrink was that I didn't buy the romance. When it was quickly apparent that the mystery element would take a backseat to the graphic lovin' between (yes, I'm calling it) the insta-loving protagonist and Dev, I pretty much mentally checked out. Sure I read along to see what would happen and how the chips would fall, but this human/vampire romantic relationship felt rehashed and lacked individuality from any other novel in the genre. I am still giving this nearly 3-stars because there are some amusing moments and I did find the magic-aspect to be somewhat clever. However, neither are enough to interest me in book two of this really-long-titled series, Blood Therapy. I'm sure this is purely a case of "it's not you, it's me" type of situation, but this book and I did not see eye to eye, so Kismet Knight will continue her nocturnal adventures without my readership.


  1. I'm sorry The Vampire Shrink wasn't your cup of tea, but I really appreciate you taking the time to read and review it.
    Best, Lynda Hilburn

    1. Wow! Lynda, thank you for taking the time to stop by! I'm sorry I didn't enjoy this as I wanted to but I am sure many others will gobble it down greedily. I also appreciate the kind words - I had a moment of panic when I saw the author had commented - but you are a class act.

  2. I haven't read the book, but I really liked your review! It's sometimes difficult to find people who will tell it like it is and be critical when appropriate. Most reviewers give a 4 or 5 to anything that's not a blatant disgrace to the world of writing XD

    Also, you now have 222 followers, which is cool. You're welcome.


    1. Well, thank you - I always try to be honest! Sometimes it leads me to trouble, but why review a book if you're just going to say the same things over and over? Some blogs drive me crazy.

      And hooray! I love new followers - and you've got a new one as well.

  3. I thought from the title it would be a comedy. That's not a judgement at all, I've just been reading too much Terry Pratchett.

    1. I was expecting a more humourous take on the idea as well. Oh well.

      And you've reminded me that I need to read some more Pratchett! I read the first 8 Discworld books and got distracted! :-\

  4. Boo -- too bad it wasn't more fun! :/

    1. I was bummed. It was nice to see the author is such a classy lady, though!

      Maybe I'll go see what you're reading and find some inspiration.


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