Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Kensei by Jon F. Merz

Fast-moving but predictable, this horror-thriller hybrid takes heroic vampire secret agent Lawson (last seen in 2003's The Syndicate) to Japan in search of some R&R: namely, advanced martial arts training at his favorite dojo and a passionate rendezvous with Talya, a former KGB assassin. First, Lawson gets into trouble with the Yakuza while thwarting a murder on a train; then he learns that Talya needs his help to wipe out a vicious organ-trafficking ring. Both matters set him on a collision course with the Kensei, an albino vampire crime lord who wants to create an army of warriors and--what else?--conquer the world.

The Kensei is book five in the series, and the first book by Mr. Merz I have had read.  However, it can read as a stand-alone novel as I really didn't feel lost at all.  Lawson is a vampire secret agent who is on his way to Japan for some rest after his last big mission.  He wants to spend some time with his dojo and spend some time with Talya. 

However, Talya has other things in mind, namely asking Lawson to assist in bringing down an organ trafficking ring.  This brings Lawson in proximity with Kensei, an albino vampire crime lord, who of course craves power and wants to rule the world. 

Lawson is a very likeable character; humorous, sarcastic, and grave.  He takes his job seriously.  His love of the martial arts shines through and you can definitely tell Mr. Merz has done his homework. The action in this urban fantasy is non-stop with  dynamic world building.  I'm very interested in reading the first four books to see how how much Lawson's character has grown.  If your looking for a new vampire espionage kick butt thrilling urban fantasy, pick up the Kensei! Fast-paced and well-crafted in a supernaturally charged setting - the Kensei is fantastic!



  1. I just finished this one and I agree fully with your review - I'm reviewing it on Thursday and was curious as to what others thought, so ran over here when I saw the tweet. I really enjoyed the book and I already bought the first one in the series for my Kindle. I really liked Lawson.

    Great review - thanks for sharing!


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