Tandem is the second novel (sequel to Thirsty) by Tracey Bateman that is situated in a small Ozark town- Abbey Hills- which was rocked by a series of brutal murders six months prior. In Tandem, Lauryn McBride’s family auction house assumes responsibility for the sale and dispersal of one of the victim’s, Markus Chisom, estates.
As Lauryn becomes more engaged in Markus Chisom’s things, and thereby in his strangely beautiful world, she is given a reprieve from the emotional devastation of watching her father decline with Alzheimer’s.
Lauryn discovered a series of letters in Chisom’s belongings, and mailed them to Amede Dastillon, from whose family the letters originated. Amede hopes the letters will help her track down her sister, who has long since been estranged from the family. Amede decides to pay Abbey Hills a visit.
Shortly after her arrival, mutilated carcasses begin turning up (again) in the small community. The community is aghast at the terror, and is force to wonder if they are being faced with the familiar evil that previously rocked the town, or with a new one.
As Lauryn searches for answers in her life, and Amede searches for her sister, can the two women overcome the darkness that threatens to surround them?
I have to admit, I had seen this title more than once in local stores and picked it up, and thought, “Really? A Christian Vampire Novel?” I have always wondered how a novelist would reconcile a Christian theme within paranormal fiction, and had a morbid curiosity about the story if for no other reason than the cover of the book. That being said, I typically don’t read paranormal fiction, and repeatedly returned the book to the shelf at the store.
Tracey Bateman does an admirable job of meshing paranormal fiction with Christian fiction. That being said, this novel is still a bit dark. The book embodies the classic struggle of good verses evil. It gives page space to murder and voodoo curses, as well as page space to Christian roots. At one point, Bateman details the death of Amede’s father, when he chose to abstain from his vampire tendencies because of faith. The last chapter gives a weak exposition of the Gospel message. I’m not sure whether Tandem should be classified as Christian fiction with vampire overtones or as a vampire novel with Christian overtones. Semantics? Perhaps. Can a vampire be redeemed? Perhaps.
All in all, I did enjoy Lauryn’s character, and think I would have found more “take away value” had I read the first novel in the series.
Tandem is available in print at Christian retailers nationwide, at christianbook.com, at barnesandnoble.com, as well as on Amazon.
***I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review through their Blogging for Books Program. All opinions are my own.***