Tuesday, June 03, 2008

X-Rated Bloodsuckers – review

Author: Mario Acevedo

First Published: 2007

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: “Felix has survived Operation Iraqi Freedom, being turned into a vampire, and a ravenous horde of nymphomaniacs. Now he faces his toughest task ever – navigating the corrupt world of Los Angeles politics to solve the murder of a distinguished young surgeon turned porn star. Both human and vampire alike have reasons to want the secret to stay buried…”

The Review: This is the sequel to The Nymphos of Rocky Flats and whilst that book had a touch of the cornucopia novel, with a variety of creatures in place, this is purely vampire with P.I. Felix Gomez not only working for his client, pornstar Katz Meow, but also for the Araneum, the shadowy ruling body of the vampire world. They are suspicious that there is human/vampire collusion going on in Los Angeles.

This, whilst still quirky, is a lot less quirky than the first book. It has, perhaps, a lot more of a detective element to it – and, to be honest, I didn’t really see Felix as a great detective – luck more than deductive powers seem to get him through – but that would seem to be the point as even Felix berates himself for mistakes made within his investigation. That said, as a vampire he is more centred as he got over his aversion to hunting humans at the end of the first book.

Lore is added, in that we meet an ojos chuecos, a human unaffected by vampire hypnosis. This seems to have much to do with a lazy eye, one pupil being off centre, and Acevedo poses the question as to whether a vampire would be able to hypnotise someone with one eye, suggesting that the hypnosis relies on stereoscopic vision. We also discover that, whilst sunblock helps a vampire go out in the daytime, the first rays of the sun will still be deadly – with the inference that there is a supernatural element to this.

One aspect of lore that seemed a little flawed (or at least unanswered) came through the use of auras. Felix, on the run, knows that vampires hunting him will be able to spot him due to his vampiric orange aura glowing away in the night. Yet, when he is attacked by wolves (or vampires transformed into the creatures, I should say) at night he looses sight of one. Did it have no aura? Perhaps Acevedo will answer this in a future novel.

I mentioned the quirkiness was still there but less obvious. For me the prime quirkiness in this volume came through the vampire character Coyote. He seemed to have a greatly extended set of powers, compared to a standard vampire, and it was clear that Acevedo likened him to the trickster godform Coyote. A great character, though one is left with a nagging emptiness as perhaps much of what he is does not get explained – but that’s the trickster for you.

Worthwhile. 6.5 out of 10.

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