|Secrets in the Shadows is the second book in the Guardians of the Night series. It can be a standalone read, but it works much better if you first read book one, since many of the characters from Watchers in the Night (click here for review) return, if often only for short appearances.
The story follows Jules Gerard, a stylish, arrogant French vampire with a quick temper, who also happens to be a member of a group of vampires, the Guardians of the Night, who do not drink human blood; in fact they hunt down and kill vampires who heedlessly feed on humans. When Jules discovers that Ian Squires, the vampire who created, tortured and betrayed him, is still alive, he tries to convince the leader of the Guardians to send a hunting party to Baltimore to deal with him. When Jules's request gets turned down, he decides to take matters into his own hands and heads off to Baltimore to deal with Ian himself. Now this is not a smart move for many reasons; the most important one being that a vampire who does not kill, no matter how old he is, is not as strong as a vampire who does.
Hannah Moore, a PI who has no love for vampires, Jules in particular (although she helped save his life in the first book), is asked by her best friend and former business partner, Carolyn Mathers, to track him down, help keep him out of harm's way and try to convince him to return home. Much easier said than done, for anyone who knows Jules. He's not in the least bit happy to have Hannah hanging around, but he does realize that it isn't a bad thing to have someone helping to keep him safe during the daylight hours. However, he still tends to think of her as a delicate mortal, albeit a bossy and stubborn one, and he doesn't want to have to worry about her while he's taking care of business.
Eli, the leader of the Guardians, has a pact with the master of Baltimore to not kill any of her people, for she knows a secret concerning Eli that would tear the Guardians asunder. He sends for Drake; while he's a killer, he only kills bad people, so the Guardians treat him as a necessary evil, tolerating and working with him. Eli asks Drake to track down Jules and bring him back home, by whatever means, without letting him harm Ian. Drake knows there is more to the situation than meets the eye and, even being as old and strong as he is, knows he's no match for the Master of Baltimore or her son. The two them are pretty twisted and demented, and ever so powerful.
Ian Squires thought he'd had it all figured out. He set a trap to lure Jules and his Guardian friends to come to him, and by association, Camille, the Master of the City, and her right hand and son, Gabriel, to have them taken out. He would then set himself up as the Master. Things backfire a bit when Jules idiotically shows up alone and especially once Hannah shows up to humiliate him. As for Camille and Gabriel, they may have the upper hand for now and they may torture him but, as long as he's still alive, there is always Plan B.
Can Drake and Hannah convince Jules to leave the city without exacting revenge on Ian? What of Ian and his Plan B? What will happen between Hannah and Jules that will leave them feeling differently about each other? Can they all survive their trip to Baltimore and a meeting with Camille and her son? Will the secrets that Camille has over Eli wreak havoc on the world of the Guardians?
Secrets in the Shadows has some interesting characters, whom the author endows with more in-depth personalities than she did in book one. It shows some promise for book three, Shadows of the Soul, as the author is clearly growing with her stories and characters. I liked this more than the first book; while it didn't rock my world, it was an enjoyable read, and it leaves a little anticipation for the next books in the series. ~~ Dee Astell