At first glance, 'From the Dark We Came' by J. Emery, had a fascinating premise for me.. and right up front I'll tell you.. there's nothing wrong with the story. The writing and story are fine, the characters sparked my interest right away, and the paranormal topic is generally something I enjoy.
Belar is a monster hunter who seems to do especially well at executing vampires, of course.. he has some tricks up his sleeves that his fellow agents don't. He has one of the best kill records in the organization.. in fact.. only one monster has ever escaped him.
He's a skilled agent who hides by day as a mild-mannered music teacher, often starting rumors about himself just so others don't get curious about his long disappearances and stir worse ones on their own. He purposely lives on the outskirts of the town to limit the visibility of his comings and goings.
One night, late returning from a city gathering.. having learned socializing with the townsfolk wherever he sets up helps him stay under their radar, he finds the monster that got away inside his home. Having already tried to kill Cassian twice, he discovers the vampire wants to hire him. Apparently, one of his own kind wants him dead and they've been using the hunter to do the job.
For me, there are components here of a great story. I love the way they begin at odds with one another, though Belar harbors prejudices regarding the vampire's kind, Cassian seems to shrug much of it off with the kind of amusement only the truly hard to kill creatures can. They both have secrets that impact the way they deal with others, things that spurred them to make the choices that put them on a trajectory toward one another.
In part because of the secrets between them, Belar struggles to tell who in his sphere is friend and who is foe and there's a chance there to really exploit that, but Emery just doesn't.
As I said before, the book was fine. It was a quick read with likeable characters. I didn't find the story particularly moving because there just isn't a lot of development done with Cassian or Belar. We're sort of tossed the bare bones of their pasts, then it's not extrapolated on.
There's even a discussion of a situation from Cassian's history that is directly tied to the reason they've both been targeted in the way they have, but the only thing really focused on is the finality of that situation. If you give it a try, you'll see it. An heirloom is brought up as a way of identifying a connection between those involved. There's a known betrayal mentioned.. and even a trial.. but none of that is followed up anywhere later in the novel.
Both Cassian and Belar have so much potential. In an almost.. crib notes explanation.. their paths have forged these magnetic characters, but the range of experience and emotion is just never shared.
If you want a quick easy read, it's still worth a look. The author could definitely grow from here and do much more with their skill. I know I'm hoping they do.