Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Apex Science Fiction Loves Very Bloody Marys

Check out this wonderful review of The Very Bloody Marys by the delightful Mari Adkins from Apex Science Fiction:

Valentino is a 200-year-old gay vampire cop who drinks his blood with vodka. He's inept, clumsy, but can see himself in a mirror. Told in first person, Valentino takes three tries to get the story started--in three different, but amusing, styles. He does this now and again as he tries to filter certain events through his mind, as he tries to make sense of the world and life around him.

Valentino has trained with his mentor, Pogue, in martial arts and law enforcement for years, enough to call himself a cop. But we don't find out exactly for whom until the end of the story, although we suspect. His job is enforcing the law of the San Franciscan "vampire underground". But then Pogue disappears and Valentino must remember what little he thinks he recalls of his training while relying upon his limited sources for help.

The title of the book comes from a Vespa-riding gang of rogue vampires who kill with so little discrimination as to threaten to local vampires' food supply and also threaten outing vampires worldwide. But after encountering the gang and being locked on a roof to burn in the morning sunlight, Valentino begins to suspect the whereabouts of Pogue.

M. Christian is the author of the novel Running Dry, and the critically acclaimed and best selling collections Dirty Words, Speaking Parts, The Bachelor Machine, and Filthy. He is the editor of The Burning Pen, Guilty Pleasures, the Best S/M Erotica series, The Mammoth Book of Future Cops and The Mammoth Book of Tales of the Road (with Maxim Jakubowski), Trans Figures: Transgender Erotica, and Love Under Foot and several other anthologies. His short fiction has appeared in over 200 books including Best American Erotica and Best Gay Erotica. He lives in San Francisco and maintains a blog at

As I've said often enough, I don't generally care for first person point of view. However, if the story is told well, handled properly, and holds my attention like The Very Bloody Marys, then I'm in favor. A narrator as self-deprecating and humorous as Valentino goes a long way. M. Christian's style is unique and new. I just wish the story had been longer. We don't really see enough of The Very Bloody Marys, although the gang is mentioned often enough. The fight scenes, while well-detailed, aren't quite long enough; they seem resolved too soon. Then again, all stories are as long and as detailed as they need to be, and this one accomplished that quite well. Too, Valentino's discovery of his true potential and how he handles himself and his duties from that point forward is well-written.

The Very Bloody Marys isn't so much a vampire novel--the vampires are far and away from Bram Stoker, and I'm glad for that--as it is a good, old-fashioned mystery. I hate be cliché and say "This book is a classic page-turner," but it is! The plot is quick-paced, and Valentino is as sexy as he is funny. The story is packed with a full, colorful cast of characters ranging from vampires, ghouls, and faeries. Oh, and a zombie or two. If you're hungry for a different kind of vampire book, don't miss this one!

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