Monday, June 09, 2008

JD's Take: The Nymphos of Rocky Flats (Mario Acevedo)

I laughed this book off a couple years ago when it came out. With a title like that, who could blame me? Then the sequel came out, and then the third one. I decided that it deserved a chance, and I needed something fluffy to read, so I picked it up. Sooooo, is it worth the strange glances you'll get on the street reading this one? Let's find out together!

I imagine that Mario pitched the book like this:
Vampire Private Eye! Sex Crazed Mystery Women! Government Conspiracy! Vampire Hunters! HOW CAN IT FAIL???

And some poor publisher thought "You're right! It works for everyone else these days! Let's do it!" and thus the series was born. Sadly, the book... kinda... sucked. The writing was alright, but the plot seemed cobbled together out of internet forums (government radiation makes women horny! vampires seduce with a stare! Stakes! Nymphs! Area 51!).

The main character was well characterized, but such a huge cliche that no real work was required to make me "get" him (A vampire that refuses to feed on humans? How clever!) . The rest of the characters lacked any real definition... they could each be explained as a Cool Concept that wasn't ever flushed out. The vampire hunters are laughably characterized, and really didn't have any place in the story, they appeared to be added in because there wasn't enough drama with the main plot alone. If you've read Harry Dresden books you've seen the whole "let's just keep piling shit onto this situation until the sheer mass of it spontaneously combusts into a dramatic finale" schtick done well. This was done... not well.

The book reads quickly, and it was entertaining enough... but it had no emotional punch, no character empathy, no fascinating plot line to really engage you. It read like a Reader's Digest story... it kills a few hours but you don't get anything out of it.

Oh, and there is no on-screen sex in this book. Really.

Overall impression: skip it. Read some Anita Blake if you want vampire sex, or Harry Dresden if you want supernatural PI done right, or Umberto Eco if you want a proper conspiracy theory. This feels like a slapped-together Johnny-Come-Lately to the burgeoning Fantasy/Romance/Horror bastard subgenre.

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