Thursday, March 10, 2016
First Published: 2014
The blurb: An ancient entity roams the streets of a Southern California city. He "borrows" other living mortal bodies to perpetuate his journey in this world. During these sometimes brief tenures he interacts with the "living" often for the betterment of those he befriends. Somewhat world-weary after six hundred years of borrowed mortality he confronts an imam at a local mosque. His oral sex demonstration in the mosque is perfectly reasonable and the predictable outrage of the imam, absolutely unjustified. This unusual and debatable mindset, is the catalyst for the promised death and destruction retribution that inevitably follows. There is hope to be found in the hearts and minds of simple people. The falsehood of religious doctrine, east and west is examined. Beneath the main story runs an undercurrent of other lives, each in their own way reacting to the vampires touch.
A child molester, gardener, prostitute, waitress and meter maid all contribute meaningfully to the story. The vampire has a Niece, spoiled, willful, confusing, loving and exasperating to all who meet her. Through it all is hope and love, redemption is at hand but not from religion, God or sex. It is by DESIGN.
The review: It is very difficult to know where to start with the Vampire Gaytooth for, as the secondary title suggests it is a most unusual vampire story. It follows Rodger – the vampire of the title – often but not exclusively through the eyes of Jack, a marine biologist whom the vampire befriends.
Rodger takes the name Gaytooth as his sexual preference is for males (though not exclusively) and he claims to be a practising Muslim, though one feels he changes religion, being that such are a human artifice, as the whim takes him. One of the stronger themes through the book is religion and the author takes side swipes at child molestation in the Catholic Church as well as Islamic extremism. He does this in a very literate writing style that bounces along in a way that reminded me a little of the Master and Margarita by way of a West Coast Bottomfeeder.
The vampirism is no less unusual. Rodger says he is “a spirit being you would chose to call vampire, although many call angel.” He does imbibe some amount of blood, though not a lot and it is not essential to his wellbeing – he would also tend to have bull’s blood. Rather human blood is a delicacy. He wears bodies – and as such we can say he possesses them (and, it is intimated pushes the original owner of a new possession into the body he discards). He can alter them but it is an effort so, for instance, the body he inhabits when we first meet him has bad teeth but he would rather have dentistry than change the teeth himself. That said his face will elongate and fangs appear when angered and others seem to see him as they expect to. Jack, by dint of his involvement with Rodger, and later Rodger’s niece, seems to become aware of dimensions he wouldn’t be otherwise.
The book is irreverent with regards organised religion and has some strong sexualised scenes that may not be for some but, for everyone else, it’s a fascinating little tome. 8 out of 10.