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Sleight of Hand

(Bite Back #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,786 Ratings  ·  165 Reviews
“Vampires are the flickering illusions of Hollywood. They don’t exist. We do. We are the Athanate.”

For Amber Farrell, post-military life as a PI has its ups and downs: She’s been hit by a truck. She’s being sued by a client. Denver’s newest drug lord just put out a contract on her. The sinister Athanate want her to come in for a friendly chat. And it’s only Tuesday.

Enter J
Kindle Edition, 574 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Marque (first published July 30th 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Rating details
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So, I Read This Book Today
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I rarely do this - but I am actually willing to compare this new author to my favorites. The team of Ilona Andrews and their "Kate Daniels" series and Patricia Briggs and her "Mercy Thompson" novels, as well as Faith Hunter's "Jane Yellowrock" are a hard act to follow. Intense storylines, fully developed realistic characters, exceptional world building, the list goes on and on. And, so far, the author of "Sleight of Hand" fits right in there with my favorites.

There are a lot of things to talk ab
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ian by: BamaGal
(Reread February 2017)

Amber is a private investigator. After discovering a drug and gun running operation in her client's business she calls in the cops and turns the screws on Denver's criminal underworld. Unfortunately for her, Denver PD have shut down the business while they investigate and her client is refusing to pay her.

With a serious cash flow problem, when Jennifer Kingslund shows up claiming one of her staff has been kidnapped and someone is trying to ruin her, she has little choice b
Donna Crupi
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I tend to have writer-envy of authors who don't need the first chapters of their book to set the stage. By page five of Henwick's book, I was positively green. He drew me in with the first explosive scene, making me feel as if I were hit by a Mack truck. Within this adrenaline-packed page turner, Henwick reveals the background details of the characters at his pace. His methodical, seductive pace.

I agreed with the 5-star review Henwick received on Amazon within the first chapter. Sleight of Hand
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
I think I'm in love. I officially declare I have a new heroine to root for. (As soon as I finished Sleight of Hand I wanted the second. Pity, I'll have to wait.)

--A strong heroine, with a military past that makes the ass-kicking pretty believable. (Not that common)
--Good world-building
--No info-dump (that's quite good for a first book a series)
--Plenty of interesting secondary characters. Not all of them are fully rounded, maybe, but there are no cardboard figures (imho)
--A very good myster
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Slight of Hand” is the first of many (many!) books about…stop me if you’ve heard this before: a former military woman who’s bitten by a vampire and now works as a PI in a world where vampires are known to exist but are viewed with great suspicion. Geez….who knew this Urban Fantasy theme was being addressed by so many different authors, with several building near-empires with their book line? In the case of Amber and the “Bite Back” series, there are currently four books on audible, with a prequ ...more
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
*** 4 ***

This was an unexpectedly pleasant and fun read. A female PI going through a vampiric transition against her will and fighting it. She has a new case and is getting to know the local vamp and shiftier crowd. It is a mastery set in an UF world. I was attracted to the characters and enjoyed the book. Nothing too spectacular or unique, but still very pleasant.
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this one way more than I thought I might. If you like kickass PI mysteries with a good mix of vampires and other supernaturals, this one is well worth a read. I got quite caught up in it and read it in two days and I'm going to start the second right away.
Sleight of Hand (Bite Back #1)
by Mark Henwick

Before reading Sleight of Hand, I was beginning to wonder if I was completely done with urban fantasy. The genre is full of cookie cutter kick-ass heroines that are uninspired copies of Anita Blake. Many of these novels are well written but lack a distinctive voice.
With Mark Henwick’s debut novel, I finally fell in love again. Amber is a character that I have rarely seen and is difficult to write. She is consistently smart, effective, an
Jacob Proffitt
Jan 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
This was an enjoyable read, though rather generic Urban Fantasy in a lot of ways.

I liked the heroine, Amber, a lot. She's got a great backstory with a lot of good inertia that let me find her both believable and sympathetic. I liked that she has special ops training and that she has an on-going relationship with the Army, though one in flux. I also liked that she was doing her best to cope with her own special kind of post-traumatic stress (trying to avoid the consequences of vampire bites on he
Sep 30, 2012 added it
I started reading this book thinking it would be distracting, as I was unwell, plus building work at home was stressful. It did that very well.

I found the book so easy to read, the characters real, and I quickly felt at ease with it. In fact I carried my kindle round constantly so I could read it anytime.

It is, as the description indicates, a vampire story, but a different story from the usual. There are also werewolves, though they don't really have too big a part in this story. The book moves
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was a blast! I mean, I'm reading some heavy stuff at the moment, so that might be part of the reason, but I literally got through this in three days.

Amber is an unusual character for UF - she used to be in the military until a strange accident that wiped out pretty much all of her squad (I want to know more about this!) So now she works as a PI in Denver, when an "weird" case comes in.

I liked that Amber didn't jump straight into a romantic relationship and there was no pining. It's re
Second time round.
Every bit as good as the first.

Original Review Here...
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-ebooks
Absolutely amazing! A rare must read indie author to add to my very select list. Thanks Ian for recommending this series - I am forever in your debt.
Snarktastic Sonja
Ok, this book helped me come to a realization: I still don’t like vampires, but I really kinda like shifters. There is just something about those werewolves . . . (or werecats . . .)

Also, another book (I think that is 2 in a row – I’ve lost the order in which I’ve read) that use another name for ‘vampire’ – here (in case you didn’t read the description) we have “Athanate.” Yet, somehow, they are still creepy. Our heroine, Amber, has, in a previous operation, been attacked by a vampire. She has t
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
2.5 Stars

I read this book because I had some questions about the writing style, story progression, characters, world building and the series came highly recommended by friends. I really wanted to like this series but I'm not a fan. The thoughts that I had when I read Raw Deal were still being asked when I read this one.

Is there a lot of potential in the series? Sure. There's a good amount to like if you're willing to bypass the bad.

Is it worth it to me to read a series that feels like it's sti
Aug 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Sleight of Hand takes a stab at a some intriguing new ideas in the paranormal genre. Sure, we have a private detective main character, and yea, we have vampires and witches and werewolves and...the US army? Yes, you heard right!

Sergeant Amber Farrell was forced to retire after an attack that left her for dead in the South American jungles. Now she's living the PI dream of barely making rent, is stalked by a veteran affairs official who wants to pin her for disability fraud, haunted by the rising
I thought that the idea of this book was a good one but at times I felt confused. The main character Amber is a strong ex-military girl that was somewhat turned on a failed mission. This was never really discussed, the mission at first sounded like everyone in her squad died but that is untrue. You never really know who is aware of her situation and who is not. I would have liked to have her do a flashback scene where the mission was described in full and we learned exactly what happened to her. ...more
Maria Schneider
Aug 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
There is sooo much good about this book. The editing is flawless, the plotting at the beginning quite strong. The pace is excellent. The foreshadowing is intriguing. There's interesting characters, there's good background. The main isn't totally on her own so there are friendships making her more interesting and likeable. About midway through there were a couple of infodumps that were a bit tedious, but sometimes that info has to be in there. In this case I was kind of groaning a bit because som ...more
♥ Ashleigh ♥  contrary to popular belief i'm not actually mad!
What a satisfying ending to a great read.
I am ridiculously glad I got to read this book.
Its a great new edition to the Urban Fantasy genre.

Now we all know i love the UF, but it can suffer from arrogant, prideful characters, I'm speaking/writing about the mains here, who can on occasion talk themselves up about how badass and dangerous they can be... one of the best things about this book is that (for the most part) Amber didn't suffer from the 'I am to Awesome disease'. she was clearly a pro at
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
More like 3.5 Stars!
I saw a lot of mixed reviews before I started reading this one. I try not to look at too many reviews before starting a new author but I do like to glance at the ratings and skim through reviews just so I can get an idea of what to expect from the author's writing style (although, admittedly this does sometimes backfire on me if there are spoilers in the reviews).

Even so, I still wasn't sure what I was going to get with this one and I am not ashamed to admit that for whateve
Llaph | No Frill | No Shill
This is an interesting new set-up for UF. It is the same sort of beings with familiar twists, but newish names for them. I’m on the fence when it comes to the Athanate. The bit about them not really being vampires is refreshing as well as the ability to function during the day. The whole blood and sex thing is part of the use of that type of being, but I felt the whole bi thing with the main character wasn’t pulled off that well. Amber did a lot of talking….
There were a lot of machinations going
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, la pression monte pour Amber et les prémices de ce qu’elle est vraiment comment a être entrevus. L’auteur sème des petits indices avec beaucoup de talent et nous laisse toujours au bord du suspense. Un peu plus du passé d’Amber est également révélé et des fissures apparaissent dans sa carapace. Si la romance comme tout bon urban fantasy est à peine esquissée, je dois dire que je ne m’attendais vraiment pas à ce qui semble s’annoncer, c’est très bien amené.

Ce tome est addictif, à aucu
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anna (Bobs Her Hair)
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: UF fans
Solid 4 Stars

This urban fantasy was a refreshing read after reading so paranormal romances. The world building has some unique features. The heroine has major kick butt skills. I'm impressed with her backstory and happy there is still more to learn. The plot has many twist, turns, and action sequences. I'm guilty of skimming through the description actions parts because I was so anxious to find out what would happen. (Basically, I just wanted the heroine to reach the top of the stairs.).

J.C. Mells
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I am probably not the first person to write that they were a little hesitant at reading an Urban Fantasy written by a male author. If you are one like me, do not be nervous, take a leap of faith - this book is worth it!

This book was recommended to me by Leiah at - someone who I do not know personally, but only through a few email exchanges about her blog etc. You can tell a lot about a person from the books she recommends. I have had people recommend stuff, and when I ha
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I loved about the first half or two-thirds of this book - intriguing variant of the typical urban vampire, "kick-ass heroine" story. Amber was bitten by vampires in the South American jungles as a US Army special-ops -- er, operative. And the Army doctors figured out that it's special vampire prions that cause people to turn after being bitten. They continue testing the blood-level of the prions, but eventually let her leave, with the understanding that if/once that goes over a certain value, sh ...more
Lauren (Sugar & Snark)
2.5 Stars

One of the things I really love about urban fantasy is that this genre, above all other genres (in my opinion) is home to the Kick-Ass Heroine. And Mark Henwick has certainly created one in Amber Farrell. She knows how to handled herself in any situation (special forces training will do that for a girl) but she is still likable and feminine.

“For Amber Farrell, post-military life as a PI has its ups and downs: She’s been hit by a truck. She’s being sued by a client. Denver’s newest drug
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Book 1 in the Bite Back series was a nice surprise to me. Amber, a PI with both a black OPS background as well as a year in the Denver PD, had been bitten by a vampire--known in this series as Athanate and not at all like the Hollywood vampire--a couple of years ago. She's not feeling any urge to bite anyone's neck when suddenly she's thrust into the Athanate world and politics. It doesn't help that the military still has hooks in her and wants her to infiltrate the vampires.

The story definitely
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
My opinion of this book changed as I went through it. Firstly, I was impressed that the author was able to create something new from the old, the myths and etc that make vampires vampires are still there but they aren't everything and there are new pieces to the tale. Secondly, the flow at the beginning of the novel, it was fast and informative at the same time which can be hard when creating a new whole to throw the reader into, but it works very well.

Amber is an entirely likeable heroine. She
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Other books in the series

Bite Back (6 books)
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“...the only real fool is the last fool” 4 likes
“This is the gift and the sorrow of the Athanate; to see your loves pass before you like the days of summer while your heart still beats. To keep your vigil in the shadows and rise again with every sun.” 4 likes
More quotes…