Tuesday, June 05, 2007

X-Rated Blood Suckers - Mario Acevedo


X-Rated Blood Suckers
Mario Acevedo
Rayo/HarperCollins

Vampire/Mystery

It all began, as it so often does, with a visit from a woman called Katz Meow. Ms. Meow is a stage name, of course, and the woman who sports it is a porn star. Excuse me, an “erotic film actress.” Her reason for being in Felix Gomez’ office in Denver is completely serious. She wants him to investigate the murder of her good friend and co-star, Roxy Bronze. The murder, like most of the porn industry, was in Los Angeles. The police made noises and paperwork, but got nowhere near finding the murderer.

There are plenty of suspects, starting with Cragnow Visoom, president of the video company that made Roxy famous. Roxy bought out her contract and had plans to start her own production company. According to Katz, Cragnow was more than a little worried that Roxy would take a lot of the talent with her. Then there are a couple of politicos who tried to push through something called Project Eleven. Roxy worked hard to stop the project and the resulting scandal cost the politicians enough to make them viable suspects.

But the most worrisome thing, from Felix’ point of view, is the suggestion that vampires might be involved. Not that Katz believes in vampires any more than she believes in fairy tale endings. But other people do, and she’s willing to follow any lead. Felix is shocked at this revelation, since, as a vampire, he knows that the rules of his “family” forbid revealing the secret of vampires to humans. The Araneum, a sort of global governing network for vampires, takes swift and merciless action against those who violate the rules. However, the Araneum is aware of a possible breach in Los Angeles and orders Felix to investigate, beginning with the leader of the Los Angeles nest, one Cragnow Visoom.

The character of Felix, a veteran of the war in Iraq, is an excellent blend of a private investigator and a vampire. The author adds some interesting new twists to the vampire mythos; and, since Felix is a new vampire, his struggles to acclimate are believable. Felix’ unhappy past comes into play here, leavened by a liberal supply of dry wit. Perhaps the most amazing twist of all, though, is the author’s ability to weave the vampire story in with the mystery investigation, without allowing either one to suffer. Readers offended by the porn industry, or don’t enjoy vampire stories… well, if you weren’t warned off by the title alone, I don’t know what else to tell you. I’m sorry that I missed the first book in this series, THE NYMPHOS OF ROCKY FLATS, but I’ll soon be correcting that mistake. Mario Acevedo is a great talent, and an author to watch.

Rating: 8
March 2007
ISBN# 978-0-06-083327-5 (trade paperback)

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