Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats – Review

Author: Mario Acevedo

First Published: 2006

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: “Felix Gomez went to Iraq a soldier. He came back a vampire.

“Back home in the States, the reluctantly undead former infantryman pays penance for his war-time sins – making a living as a private detective able to unravel mysteries that baffle his mortal counterparts. Now an old friend has asked him to investigate a bizarre outbreak of nymphomania at the secret government facilities in Rocky Flats, Colorado. Normally Felix’s unorthodox – and downright supernatural – methods of extracting information are foolproof. But this time his efforts inadvertently stoke the lustful fires smouldering within the bodacious babes he’s interrogating… While eliciting cryptic mentions of Roswell and a top secret Project Redlight.

“P.I. Felix Gomez has finally landed a case he can really sink his teeth into. But when shadowy government agents and determined Eastern European vampire hunters get stirred in, this deadly goulash of tight lips and rampant libidos boils over…”

The Review: I first heard of this, the first in a series, when it was reviewed over at Sacred Monsters. Due to this I knew a little of what I was getting myself into. From the blurb you’d be forgiven for thinking this might be a little bit of a sex romp but, whilst the book deals with some adult subjects, it really isn’t that explicit.

It is somewhat of a cornucopia approach to the genre, whilst it focuses mainly on vampires, Acevedo does throw in a dryad and aliens. However, what it does nicely is return to a more traditional form of vampire without getting bogged down in romanticism. The vampires are burnt in the sun (but sun block can deal with that), shapeshift into wolves and are hurt by silver. They wall crawl, can levitate and have a tendency to sleep in coffins.

One thing I really did like was the way Acevedo described the vampire’s eyes. They glow due to the tapetum lucidum at the back of the eyes. This aids night vision and also allows the vampire to hypnotise and see auras. Unfortunately it is a dead give-away and contact lenses are necessary to hide the glow – which has the knock on effect of blocking the powers. Auras became a prime aspect of the book with each type of being having a different colour dependant upon the chakara that governed that creature.

These vampires are also vulnerable, not only from hunting if discovered but also from blood. They can subsist on animal blood but without human blood their powers diminish. Disease in blood can severely injure or kill a vampire – we hear of one vampire who contracted Marburg and is spending eternity with a colostomy bag as the disease ate away his lower intestines. Vampires can eat human food, if liberally covered with blood.

There is an underground vampire association ruled over by the mysterious Araneum and Felix finds himself caught between his investigation and doing their bidding.

The story itself is weird and Acevedo avoids going into overt comedy as that level of quirkiness carries the humour needed. Felix himself does not feed on humans but there is a root cause of his pathos and it is down to him accidentally killing (whilst human) a young girl, mistaken as an insurgent, during Iraq and less to do with a hatred of his vampire nature (though there is some degree of hating the position he’s in).

Over all a fun little read and a nice place for a series to build upon. 6.5 out of 10.

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