Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kathleen Bradean Likes Running Dry (Redux)

Since I'm still all-a-twitter (even though I don't twitter) over Kathleen Bradean's review of my Coming Together Presents M.Christian collection, I thought I might as well share this over review she did for Chroma, of my queer/quasi-vampire novel Running Dry - especially since it was just reprinted by the great folks at Camel Books.

Shelly manages an art gallery in Los Angeles, a job that's lost its appeal for her. A handsome stranger comes in and asks for contact information for an artist who had a showing in her gallery a year before, Doud. The stranger claims he wants Doud to work as an artist director for a horror film, but Shelly is leery of giving out Doud's private information, so she pretends she's lost it.

When Shelly takes the stranger's card to the reclusive Doud's apartment, Doud panics and forces her to flee with him to Bakersfield. On the way, Doud tells Shelly that he's a vampire, and that the man who was looking for him was another vampire, a dangerous ex-lover named Sergio whom Doud thought dead.

Shelly has a hard time accepting Doud’s story. But when they arrive at Doud's secret house in Bakersfield, a mindless new vampire has been left there as a warning to Doud, and to deliver a message. Doud fights the vampire, killing it. He wins, but the combat has drained his energy, bodily fluids, and almost all his reason. Shelly sees him for the monster he can be and finally believes his story. She flees.

After feeding, Doud appears human again; his victim is reduced to dust. Doud remembers the message the other vampire delivered - he must go to Needles, a small town in the middle of the Mojave Desert. When he gets there, he can't find any trace of Sergio. A friendly local artist cruises Doud and invites him home.

Shelly conquers her fear and decides that Doud needs her help. She returns to Doud's house. While she’s there, Sergio walks in. Sergio tells Shelly that he wanted to warn Doud about another vampire who was out to kill him, an artist from Needles.

As Doud and the artist kiss, Doud realizes that the artist is a vampire who intends to feed off him. Doud runs for his life, but the artist relentlessly pursues him. Shelly and Sergio come to his rescue. Sergio and Doud's reunion clears up old misunderstandings, and together they stop the malevolent vampire.

M. Christian delivers a fresh outlook on vampires, something this genre has long needed. Although he has published hundreds of short stories, this is M. Christian's debut novel. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of his longer works.

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