Reviewed by Caleb Shadis

The Kensei is the 5th book in the Lawson Vampire series. Lawson, the main character, is a Fixer; he is a vampire who works for the Council (a vampire ruling body), keeping the secret of vampires’ existence from the human population. Lawson’s job is pretty tough, so after a particularly trying assignment he decides to take little a vacation, far from his home in Boston, to Japan.

Lawson isn’t in the country for an hour when he gets in a fight with a Yakuza assassin on a subway, saving a man from certain death. His vacation does not improve from there. Bodies seem to keep piling up everywhere Lawson goes and someone wants him to be dead as well. His girlfriend gives him the news that someone is killing children for their organs and she has followed the trail to Japan. The man behind both their problems is known as The Kensei, a powerful vampire hiding among the Yakuza.

Overall, I enjoyed the book – it takes a very different slant on what or who vampires are supposed to be. According to The Kensei, vampires are a ‘race’ of humans that diverged quite a while ago and are more like super humans that need to consume human blood to live, than cursed evil monsters of the night. Lawson himself is a mix of James Bond and Wolverine: he’s the best at what he does and he likes his orange juice shaken, not stirred.

One of the things that irritated me was that Lawson’s been around for ~150 years and some things like drinking blood still bother him. I had a hard time accepting that. There were other little things along those lines, but I still found the story gripping. I am planning on reading the first book in the series to see if it helps explain some of the things I felt were missing in this book.

Rating: 3.5/5

Caleb is a software engineer and amature woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Jon F. Merz. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.