Review: How to Defy a Vampire (VRC: Vampire Related Crimes Book 5) by Alice Winters

Rating: 4.5🌈

It’s was 2020 when we last saw a release in this series, so it took a while to remember what had happened and where we stood with all the characters and their relationships.

This paranormal series stood out from the beginning due to one of its main characters. That’s Finnegan “Finn” Hayes, a human police detective who comes to work for the VRC, the Vampire Related Crimes Unit. He’s a double amputee, arm and leg, both purposely cut off by a vampire with a master plan for Finn’s life, including total control.

That’s all discovered through convoluted, and disturbing revelations and plot threads in the beginning books. His outlook, his banter, all Finn’s way of dealing with the enormous horror he’s faced and the memories he carries. Winters never lets us or Finn, through his emotional struggles, forget that those special prosthetics (part of that horror) aren’t any true replacement for his missing limbs. They can break, the electronics can stop working, the nerves or specific cap where they attach has been damaged. It’s a believable portrait of a man who both needs his prostheses to feel complete and hates the vulnerability because of what he sees he becomes without them. A issue addressed further here.

I feel Finn is actually the most complex character Winters has created. And he continues to show character growth in small ways throughout the series.

His relationship with his partner, the ancient vampire, Marcus Church, is a terrific example. Marcus isn’t forthcoming about his bloody past , but it’s often his past that’s comes to confront them, forcing an exchange of information. As it happens here.

But Winters has a deeper scheme for the series arc apparently as she doubles, shockingly, back to Finn’s beginning.

I’ll say no more. But this is a real fear inducing storyline. And it’s only partially solved, leaving several threads open for discussion and potentially more huge issues and high drama.

We also get two new characters, both fascinating and engaging, and linked to both Finn and Marcus’ pasts.

Claude and Alexei are here and clearly more established in their relationship. I adore them.

I had forgotten how much I really love this series. It’s raw in its character complexity, scary in its story execution, and while it has it humorous moments, it remains a terrifying tale at heart with love always at risk.

Hopefully we won’t have to wait as long for the next installment.

Guts are torn out, heads fly, much violence. This is dark fiction at much of the time. Not something that you would want to read? Take notice.

Otherwise I’m recommending it highly. They must be read in the order they are written in order to understand the events and characters development.

VRC: Vampire Related Crimes series:

🔷How to Vex a Vampire #1

🔷How to Elude a Vampire #2

🔷How to Lure a Hunter #3

🔷How to Save a Human #4

🔷How to Defy a Vampire #5

Buy Link:

How to Defy a Vampire (VRC: Vampire Related Crimes Book 5)


Stumbling into a crime scene is pretty typical for me. As a human, joining the VRC has done everything but keep me out of trouble. And now I seem to be playing a part that I’d really rather not play… if I want to keep my head, that is.

By my side is my partner Marcus, a vampire who has vowed to tear the world apart—and even a mattress—to keep me safe. I want to do everything I can to protect my newfound family, no matter what we’re forced to face.

When ghosts from my past step right into my path, I want to look the other way. I’d rather enjoy my life with Finn, figure out a way to make my brother less obnoxiously gaudy, and find out how to never go roller skating ever again.

Finn is the bravest person I’ve ever met, but he’s also a human and we’re working against some of the strongest vampires in existence. I’m left doing what I can to shield those dearest to me while trying to keep the past from consuming the present.

I can’t let the same mistakes happen again.

How to Defy a Vampire contains peculiar festive wear, misguided attempts at welcoming a human, and Marcus terrifying everyone as usual.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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