The Undeparted is the first of a series of vampire novels by Deborah Palumbo. Cassandra, the female protagonist, is beautiful, works in an advertising company with her college friend Lucy, lives with her boyfriend Mike, a policeman, and has a fairly happy life, or so she thinks. She is mysteriously assaulted one evening when she gets home by a man who bites her neck and sucks her blood. She defends herself but he ends up taking her with him to a castle where she meets a very attractive man, Quentin. They are vampires and it seems that Quentin is the boss. They are surprised that Cassandra has resisted as it seems anybody they bite becomes their servant/slave and she is the first to not fall for them. For unknown reasons she is returned to her home and no evidence of the assault is left. Nobody believes her. Her boyfriend and her best friend tell her that it was all a dream, as surely everybody knows vampires aren’t real. Strange things keep happening and complication follows complication. Who is this Quentin? What can Cassandra do to convince everybody that he is a vampire? And why is she beginning to have doubts about her feelings? The reader shares Cassandra’s doubts, questions and mixed feelings. The novel plays with conventions but also defies them. Nothing is quite as it seems and rather than being a romantic/paranormal/vampire novel, The Undeparted has elements of suspense and thriller and a big surprise at the end that I will not reveal. The Undeparted is an engaging read, thrilling, intriguing, well paced and manages to build up tension and keep the reader hooked. The human characters are realistically portrayed and their feelings credible and familiar and the undeparted are mysterious, attractive, but also have weaknesses and emotions that make them easier to identify with. The ending surpassed my expectations and left me eager to read the next instalment. And I’m sure I won’t be the only one.
I recommend this novel to anybody who appreciates romance, paranormal fiction, intrigue, and surprise.