Death by Design begins in 13th century Paris with Sethe, a vampire hell bent on revenge against the woman who spurned him. After brutally murdering her he vows to take his revenge on all of her descendants as well. The story then jumps to modern day Chicago where Bailey Davis, an interior designer and Italian shoe addict resides. Her life is seemingly mundane except for a few quirks – she is extraordinarily quick, strong, and she is able to heal abnormally fast. None of this makes any sense to Bailey until she is attacked and has a strange vision of a young woman being killed.
Detective Declan O’Connor is assigned to work Bailey’s case; however, the Chicago Special Homicide Division is not the only organization that is interested in the answers Bailey provides about that night. Bailey’s life is thrown into turmoil when she is taken into protective custody by the Full Blood Vampire Nation and is introduced into a whole new world she had no idea existed. Bailey learns she is the descendant of the Ahkin line, a powerful family of vampires. As it turns out, this is the same line that Sethe has been tracking. When the Vampire Nation headquarters is infiltrated and Bailey is taken captive, she learns the meaning of the nightmares that have been plaguing her dreams her entire life. Sethe is intent on making Bailey fully his by taking the power she holds within for himself.
What I liked about Death by Design was the fresh take on how vampires are created and the powers they possess. Ms. Kenney has created a new vampire breed, one that I have yet to see in any other books. Each vampire is unique and may or may not have powers based upon who changed them or if they were born vampire. I am glad that she included a map of the Full Blood Family Tree because there are so many characters that I got lost and had to refer back to it.
There were a few things that I did not like; namely, the grammar and punctuation errors. This happens in every book from big publishers to self-published books, but they irritate the inner English teacher in me. The phrase “and they said their goodbyes,” was used too frequently. There were also places where the story seemed to drag and the excess of information was a detriment to the flow. I don’t want to give away too much, but the idea of vampire-compelled sex is rape, pure and simple; treating it as something else is hard for me to stomach.
Overall, this is a good start to the Bailey Davis series. The next book Designs in Blood is set to introduce new supernaturals and explore more lines on the Full Blood Family Tree. Fans of the Night Huntress series by Jeanine Frost will find Bailey Davis intriguing.