Death is for the Living by J C Steel is an epic vampire fantasy that takes the reader on a journey from the Caribbean, all over the world, as Cristina Batista and her partner Jean are caught up in vampire machinations that reach to the very peak of vampire society. Cristina and Jean are part of a team of vampire hunters who roam the Caribbean, on the yacht Artemis, looking for and destroying vampires as they go. Both of them, though, have pasts that are perhaps not compatible with the idea of Vampire hunters. Christina was almost changed several years earlier, but somehow was able to stay human and Jean indeed, was a Vampire, changed several Centuries ago, until a witch gave him the power to become human again. Both, for different reasons have great motivation to kill the most powerful vampire in the New World, but their journey will be fraught with danger, fear, and an extreme sense that this may be the end of both of them.
In Death is for the Living, we find a different type of vampire tale that helps to lift this book above the ordinary vampire-hunting stories. Author J C Steel’s style is relaxed and readable, dropping little nuggets of information about the backstories of both Cristina and Jean as the reader progresses through the book. The conflict and suspicions between the characters, especially those of the hunters, who although on a common mission, with a common purpose, but who don’t know each other that well, is one of the highlights of this story. Steel does a good job at defining the two main characters and their relationship, which is both somewhat co-dependent but also extremely loving and beautiful at times. The character of the renegade vampire de Vallejo and the witch Mama Gale could have been fleshed out more full, in my opinion, as a reader. I was certainly left wondering more about these two. Still, this is a solid, readable Vampire fantasy, with the promise of more to come in future iterations of this story.