Sunday, April 19, 2009

Every Last Drop – review

Author: Charlie Huston

First Published: 2008

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: After a year hiding out in the Bronx, Joe Pitt is given an assignment he can’t refuse.

One Clan needs Joe to inform on an another, but he’s playing them both while keeping his eye on the main prize: his girl Evie is on the Island somewhere and he’ll do anything to get her back. And in this case, ‘anything’ means coming face to face with the horrendous secret that lies beneath the Vampyre world. It’s a quest that will drive him to the heart of the two most perplexing mysteries of the Vampyre community: how were the Clans originally formed and where do the powerful ones get all that blood?

The search for answers takes Joe to a dark corner of Queens, puts him face to face with a mythic and savage Clan and leaves him in possession of a vision he’ll never scrape off his retinas – as well as a bargaining chip that redefines his place in the Vampyre universe.

The review: The Joe Pitt series has been one of the highlights of vampire literature in recent years. Beginning with Already Dead and then followed by No Dominion and Half the Blood of Brooklyn. So how does this new volume fare?

As the volume starts there is no doubt that Joe Pitt is back and Huston’s gritty, noir prose are matched with a wonderful level of brutality. Note that, in the blurb, it mentions retinas – a little bit of inaccuracy because around thirty or so pages in Joe has an eye chewed out of his skull – the Vyrus will repair the nerves but not recreate the lost orb. Such is the opening brutality and it is a welcome read.

The horrendous secret the blurb mentions, well… let us say it didn’t feel as shocking as perhaps it should. Maybe I have read and watched too many vampire genre things and thus it was easy to guess – perhaps because Joe meets it with his character’s normal, unshakable stoicism.

I mentioned in my Half the Blood of Brooklyn review that the third volume did much repositioning to direct the series towards its finale and, unfortunately, this book continued with that trend, invoking much in the way of backstabbing and double dealing that ends with the Clans on the brink of a precipice – that I am sure will form the finale. This is not necessarily a bad thing series wise but, whilst invested into the story, I long for the rush into that finale to see where Hudson will take this and it leaves the ending of this volume perhaps a little flat as we await that climax.

Good, strong, violently no-nonsense noir but a little flat in the ending – due to its series nature – but definitely worth reading. 7 out of 10.

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