Kade is adorably grumpy, although I’d never let him hear me say it. I sort of have a thing for foul language (and use it myself as part of everyday speech) so I found his random outbursts of “bad mouth” endearing and amusing. He’s also one of my favorite hero architypes: stubborn, loyal, driven, in charge, and gruff with undercurrents of tenderness and compassion.
I also liked Val and her equally stubborn streak, as well as the fact that she believes in defending herself but also knows when too much is too much. They could have easily been one of those couples who both refuse to bend and end up having a stereotypical “ah hah!” epiphany after some predictable plot crescendo, but instead Ms. McCallister lets them fall in love slowly (well, relatively) and organically and get to know each other before rushing into life-changing decisions. They still have a bumpy ride, but it’s almost sweet and definitely has heat.
I found the plot a little confusing at times, and trying to figure out how the characters jumped from one conclusion to another in the course of the investigation took me out of the story for a bit, but overall it’s a strong story arc and I like that it didn’t end in a neat little predictable bow. The secondary characters were all fairly memorable and there are plenty more potential hottie heroes to continue the series with. Bad Mouth isn’t a new concept in the realm of vampire fiction but it is a fresh take on the hierarchy amongst them and the human interactions and influences they deal with. If you like Lindsay J. Pryor’s Blackthorn series, you’ll probably enjoy this one as well. Bad Mouth (and its followup, Bad Cop) are less edgy, a little safer than Blackthorn, but both feature strong couples entrenched in dauntingly dissimilar cultures with seemingly insurmountable barriers to to conquer.