The Black Rose – Decent enough 2nd book in the series.

The Black Rose.
Four Elements, #2.
By J.R. Rain and Matthew S. Cox.
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ out of 5 stars.

Max Long enjoyed a pleasant, if secluded, life in the small mountain town of Shadow Pines. Things had been quiet—until he discovered the elements obeyed him.

As if learning vampires truly existed didn’t shock him to his core already, Max grapples with the reality that he’s been given real magic. He has the power of all four elements at his fingertips.

They say every good private eye story starts with a crying girl walking through the door. Crystal hadn’t been the first upset woman to ask him for help, not in a town with a murder rate far worse than any big city. Unfortunately, he’d made the biggest mistake of all… falling in love. As if becoming romantically entangled with a client didn’t complicate matters enough, he’d fallen for a half-succubus.

When a group of senior citizens on a day trip go missing, Max suspects the local vampires have stopped caring about subtlety. People who rock the boat in Shadow Pines tend to disappear painfully, but if he doesn’t start making waves soon, his beloved home town will become nothing more than a graveyard.

After reading the first book in the series I wrote that it was decent enough that I would give the second one a chance so here we go.

The book tells the continuation of the story from the first book but, since all the characters and everything else has now been set up, there is less setting up work going on. Apart from that the book is really more of the same.

Max and Crystal is a couple and they complement each other well. Max with his elemental powers that he is still coming to grips with and Crystal who knows her powers very well and brings a lot more to the table than one would have first thought a succubus would do. The latter is generally bad news for the various vampires infesting Shadow Pines.

The books follows a pretty straightforward path of investigation, discoveries, a few twists and of course plenty of vampire killing tied together with generally good dialogue and character development, especially for Max of course.

I like both Max and Crystal and Crystal’s family isn’t too bad either now when the reason for her “expulsion” out of the family have been cleared out. I was a bit worried that it would turn into urban porn with Crystal being a succubus but, luckily, that didn’t happen. Actually, the succubus part is only a small part of Crystals supernatural “features”.

This book introduces the werewolf community as an additional element in the story. Unfortunately this is where the author decided to throw in a little bit of woke, anti companies, anti fracking etc. rubbish but at least most of the book is free from that nonsense.

The book is not really more than three star material but it is a solid three stars and it is the second book in a trilogy so I’m definitely going to read the third, and final, one as well.

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