Author: Chris Quinton
Publisher: Manifold Press
Characters: Andreas Rousakis, Xavier Escudero
POV: 3rd person
Scene Setting: Barcelona, Spain in the year 2042
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Book Cover Rating: 3
Xavi is a sometime hooker, sometime gigolo, working the rich pickings of wealthy tourists and bored socialites of Barcelona in 2042. His current meal ticket is Sophia Matas, the wife of a prominent politician. Then Sophia is assassinated and he’s the only witness. Within hours, Xavi finds himself in protective custody and in a safe house. His guardian is Andreas, a vampire liaising with the Barcelona police.
Andreas needs to exert control – of himself, his abilities, and his relationships. Now he must keep Xavi safe. If he can keep Xavi in one place long enough. They embark on an affair that will define who and what they are, played out in a deadly dance of kill-or-be-killed danger.
In the year 2032, vampires revealed their existence to humankind. Ten years later, the US is a dystopian police state: “dark, utilitarian, and paranoid.” Vampires and law enforcement now sometimes work together, as is the case with Andreas Rousakis.
Andreas is a US warden who is on a case to assist the Barcelona police in solving the murder of a prominent socialite and wife of Councilor Marco Rodriguez, a man with lofty political ambitions and a platform that has earned him enemies in some very high places.
Xavi Escudero is a born street rat who, through the natural evolution of self-preservation, becomes a prostitute and opportunist. Egotistical and cynical, Xavi is confident of his sexual prowess with the wealthy women he seduces, yet doesn’t limit himself exclusively to women if he finds his financial situation demands a little flexibility. He’s not bisexual; he’s Xavi-sexual and he makes his own rules when it comes to whom he services.
Xavi is the only witness to the murder of Sophia Mata and quickly becomes a fugitive—not of the law but of a police department rife with corruption, in which he has no trust. Xavi is determined to bring Sophia’s killer to justice but will do so on his own terms. That is, until Andreas Rousakis enters the investigation and eliminates Xavi’s choices. Using his predatory senses, Andreas tracks Xavi through the streets of Barcelona, finding him just in time to save him from an assassin’s bullet.
Taking Xavi into protective custody, Andreas secrets him away, quickly becoming overwhelmed by the instinctive urge to possess the man who calls to his predatory senses. When the Barcelona police change plans and the mission becomes one to throw Xavi out as bait to catch the killer, Andreas takes control and Xavi reluctantly finds himself incapable of denying his attraction to the dominant and alluring vampire.
Fool’s Errand is definitive Chris Quinton, if I can make such a claim after having read just two of her other works: Aloes and Sea Change.
Andreas is enigmatic and compelling; Xavi is a contradiction—narcissistic and temperamental, but in an entirely irresistible way. He’d be a very easy character to dismiss if his confidence wasn’t so entirely unhinged by his reaction to the man he initially sees as a monster. The relationship between the two characters evolves slowly, as Xavi initially resists the influence of the powerful vampire and Andreas deftly maneuvers and controls the seduction from the outset, until Xavi is helpless against him. Each character’s backstory is sufficiently developed to add layers, depth, and interest to both, while the minor players provide just enough support to the plot to help the story advance.
While Fool’s Errand is set in the not-so-distant future, there are no specifics that would necessarily qualify it as a futuristic novel. Anyone who might be expecting a sci-fi element won’t find that within the plot of this book. What the reader will find, however, is a story that holds some interesting complexities, a European locale that lends a sophisticated style, and an assortment of details gathered from various archetypes that combine to give a reasonably imaginative spin to the vampire mythos.
The ending of the book left just enough loose ends to encourage my anticipation of the second book in the series.