My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Opening sentence: I smell them before I see them.
A vampire noir style detective mystery novel. Who knew they had these anymore?
I am a fan of vampyre(vampire) based supernatural fiction. If it feels true to the concept of vampires. No over the top romances and love struck teenagers. No sparkly skin. And an adequate amount of violence and sexual deviance. Huston did a good job on that count and I thank him for taking a hit at cliches with just the right shade of dark humor.
I was tickled by how the author made the Vampyre society’s Clans into pseudo vampyre cults with just more edgy variations of human agendas. The Coalition is a influential and powerful mafia style outfit that wants to control the vampyre community with a ‘carrot and stick’ method of attractive compensation in exchange for obedience or an old fashioned tanning session for the opposite. The Society is the group of vampyre anarchists/hippies that want to revolutionize the vampyre way of life to the effect that vampyres and human beings will co exist and hug trees together. Because they believe the living won’t mind living with the undead. The living that can’t even come to terms with the rest of the still-living yet. Then there’s the Enclave. A small dangerous clan of religious monk-like vampyres that have taken to starvation and meditation to achieve transcendence into a stronger and possibly divine form. Although they have no proof of their theory, they are dedicated to maintaining unwavering discipline and faith until proven otherwise. There are also mentions of other factions like The Hood and The Dusters but with less detail in this first book.
The story takes place around New York (where else?) where the protagonist Joe Pitt, a rogue vampyre trying to live out a normal vampyre’s existence, does his best to separate himself from the Clans, while still doing enough to maintain his peace with all sides.
I liked the main character right off the bat and not because he was presented as a “badass”, but because his ‘badness’ just seemed to be a way of life for a vampyre, even if he is really softhearted. Maybe I am just used to more shocking brutality in vampire protagonists. I felt strong undertones of a good guy who had to be bad, instead of a bad guy who did bad things for good reasons. This was helped furthermore by the guy’s real name turning out to be Simon. I did appreciate the healthy dose given of the character’s mistakes and personal flaws and weaknesses. I also appreciated that his ‘love interest’ or women in general played no part in it. I like protagonists that have better things to do with their time. Like stopping the zombie epidemic by killing the former-pornstar goth zombie. Or finding the connection between that goth zombie and the father of the missing girl you’re trying to locate. Healthy passtimes
I am hoping the other books in this series, which I will pick up hopefully soon, continue to be a unique blend from Huston’s noir colored palette of humor, brutality and vampyre-style realism.
1. “So my advice is use a gun with a lot of bullets, just like if you were trying to kill your wife or husband.” (pg. 26)
2. “Nothing more dangerous to the life of a child than a house full of firearms. Nothing more dangerous except maybe a parent.” (pg.26)
3. “Word gets around.” “Yeah That’s what word does” (pg. 73)
4. “After all, the killer’s hand is holding the cigarette I’m smoking” (pg. 109)