Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Shadow Hunter by Kait Ballenger: Guest Post & Review

Shadow Hunter 
Execution Underground, Book 0.5
by Kait Ballenger

See where it all began in this exciting prequel to The Execution Underground, Kait Ballenger’s sexy paranormal series about the men who hunt evil and the women who love them.

Vampire hunter Damon Brock’s first assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York. But he isn't the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family—and she works solo. But when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf, the line between good and evil blurs as they must decide between their lifelong beliefs… and their newfound desires.
Carly's One Question
Today I'm welcoming Kait Ballenger and her new release, Shadow Hunter! I've come to realize that I made a serious miscalculation when I created Carly's One Question, because I really have a hard time limiting myself to just ONE. I probably should have called this section "how many questions can Carly cram into one sentence" instead! Since you have now been properly warned, Kait, thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us, and here we go. 

Carly: From gothic horror, to immortal lovers and everything in between, vampire stories have come a long way since Bram Stoker first penned Dracula in 1897! In Shadow Hunter, vampires are the monsters that go bump in the night and hunters are the heroes. What can you tell us about the world you have created in this series that makes it uniquely yours, and what concepts or characters are you looking forward to exploring the most as you contemplate the Execution Underground series future?

Kait: Oooh! What a great topic question! I think there are several key components to the series that make it truly unique, but I think I’ll start off by giving a little intro into the series.

Shadow Hunter is a prequel novel that follows Damon Brock, the leader and founder of the Rochester, New York division of the Execution Underground directly before the division was formed. The Execution Underground, the organization Damon and his fellow hunters work for, is an elite, covert organization of human hunters who fight to protect humanity from evil supernatural creatures and they have multiple divisions in cities across the globe. This particular leg of the series focuses on the six hunters who make up the Rochester division. Each of these hunters has a different specialty of supernatural creature they fight against. For Damon, his specialty is hunting vampires. But these bloodsuckers aren’t your typical no sun, scared of crosses and garlic variety. 

The vampires in Shadow Hunter are very similar to humans from the outside. They’re warm-blooded and have a heartbeat, and while they’re mostly nocturnal by nature, they’re fully capable of going out in the sun. That makes Damon’s job all the more complicated, because vampires are difficult to distinguish from humans, save for the drop down fangs and bloodsucking when they’re about to feed, of course. The only way these particular monsters can be killed is a stake through the heart, a severed spine or decapitation, but while they may blend in with humans, don’t let their exterior fool you. With increased strength and speed, and a drive to suck the life from humanity, they’re highly deadly. In Shadow Hunter, vampirism is treated like a virus and these bloodsuckers are lethal, so no sparkling romantic vampires will make an appearance in this series and the romance is all about the humans who hunt these monsters.

Now that I’ve given some background, onward to what I think makes the series uniquely mine! Aside from the obvious, that the heroes and heroines are human with normal relationship issues like you would find in a contemporary romance novel, rather than paranormal creatures with unique paranormal relationship issues like we classically see in most paranormal romance, I think what makes this series unique is the world-building. Often, paranormal series focus on one type of creature, but since each book in the Execution Underground series focuses on a different hunter and they all have different specialties, that leaves a wide range of possibilities. Each new book has a new paranormal creature as the bad guy. I think that helps keeps the series fresh and forward moving. I also try my best to take a unique approach with my heroines. I try to make them more similar to the strong women you would find in urban fantasy, than the sometimes meek heroines of a typical paranormal romance novel. 

As for the second part of the question, the concepts and characters I’m looking forward to exploring the most, I love a good rekindled love story, so I can’t wait to write the full length book for Damon and Tiffany, which begins with their prequel story in Shadow Hunter. I also can’t wait to write Ash Devereaux’s book, which is book number four in the series. He’s the resident ghost hunter. I think readers are going to find his story truly heart-wrenching. I’m also looking forward to introducing characters from other divisions outside of Rochester and maybe...maybe...the possibility of the Execution Underground allowing female hunters to join their ranks. To find out for sure, you’ll just have to keep reading and see for yourself ;-)

Carly: What great answers Kait! Thank you for the intro and teasers... I must admit that the brief glimpse you give readers of Ash in Shadow Hunter make me want to read his story too.

My Review
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After losing his partner, Damon Brock is re-assigned to Rochester, New York where he believes that the low paranormal activity will allow him to work solo. Looks can be deceiving however, and it doesn't take him long to run into the two things he was hoping to avoid; Tiffany Solow and more paranormal activity than he's seen  in over a decade.

A vicious killer is on the loose and the death toll is rising. At the same time, his attraction to the vibrant yet stubborn Tiffany is getting harder and harder to resist.

Tiffany has her own demons to fight, both personally and professionally. Damon Brock is a complication she never saw coming... in a world that's already challenging her limited resources.

They must find a way to work together, while resisting the unsettling chemistry that ignites between them.

While Shadow Hunter starts slowly, Kait Ballenger does an excellent job of building the foundation of this series. One that task is completed, the story is free to take flight, and I found myself quickly caught up in the developing storyline. The prequel to her existing Execution Underground series, this is not a stand alone story, so expect to finish it wanting more!
View all my reviews

You can pick up your copy while it's on sale for $0.99 cents.

Author Profile
Kait Ballenger is a full-time romance author, wife, a former professional bellydancer, and soon-to-be-professor. She is the multi-published author of the Execution Underground paranormal romance series about an international network of supernatural hunters who fight to protect humanity.

With a B.A in English from Stetson University (2011), Kait is graduate of Spalding University’s M.F.A in Writing for Children and Young Adults program (2013), where she studied dual-genre in screenwriting.

When Kait’s not preoccupied with paranormal creepy-crawlies, she can be found spending time with her family or with her nose buried in a book. She lives in Florida with her husband, their doggie-daughter Sookie (yes, like the heroine in Charlainne Harris’ books), and two mischievous cats Elliot and Olivia (yes, like the Law and Order characters), near the love and care of her supportive family. Kait believes anything is possible with hard work and dedication. One day, she will be a bestseller and have people name their pets after her characters too.

Kait is represented by Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency.

Find Kait Online:


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