Just Finished Reading: No Dominion by Charlie Huston (FP: 2006)
Sometime investigator Joe Pitt is down on his luck. After annoying several of the strongest New York clans he has few friends. Little money and almost no blood in his fridge. What’s more his girlfriend’s condition is starting to worsen on its way to full blown AIDS. Joe needs money and he needs blood before he risks taking some from an unlucky passer-by. So when he’s attacked in his favourite bar by a crazy drug addled youngster Joes thinks his world has just about hit rock bottom – until he realises that the hop-head (or whatever he’s on) is just like him. But that’s impossible. Joe’s system takes care of every drug he can think of. Joe can’t even get a decent buzz of alcohol and has long since given up on any other form of recreational pharmacology. So how is this vampire high and more to the point high on what? After he takes care of things and disposes of the body Joe goes to the only place he can think of that will take him in. But even within the confines of The Society he is taken to task for killing a fellow vampire on their turf. Explaining that he had no other choice and telling them about a possible new drug on the streets than can affect vampires in this way starts a ball rolling that no one knows how to stop. Sent north to The Hood to investigate rumours of the drugs manufacture Joe is thrown into the middle of a turf war between rival clans who will use any weapon to get the upper hand, even if it carries the possibility of discovery by humans and runs the risk of ultimate exposure. The stakes are high, the need for revenge deeply set and very, very old enmities are set to rise to the surface. All in all it’s going to be a very interesting 48 hours in the life, death and later existence of Joe Pitt.
I really enjoyed the first Joe Pitt novel with its fascinating and well-conceived mixture of noir detective and contemporary vampire novel. The mix, tried by many, really worked here. Joe is a great character and I was very glad indeed that there was a whole series of books starring this hard-boiled vampire anti-hero. I was even more pleased that the second book in the series lived up to and actually exceeded the promise of the first. Tightly plotted with a great ensemble cast of supporting characters (several of them who I wouldn’t mind meeting in different circumstances – mainly them not being vampires!) this was a fast paced subway ride through the intricacies of vampire society. Not only did the main players have fully formed persona’s that felt real the whole structure of the various vampire clans felt just as real too. Yet again we have slivers of background information that trickle down into the story allowing the reader to view part of an obviously complex and ancient culture which is clearly part human (the vampires where after all human before their infection) but part something else entirely. That was definitely a big part of what I found gripping here. The other was the mystery of the drug in question and some of the throw-away lines from people who really knew what was going on and going down. Almost everything about this book and its predecessor drives you to want to know more about their world and the vampires who inhabit it. Luckily we have three more books in this series to look forward to (so far) and hopefully more after that. Plus if these two books are anything to go by I’m also going to pick up this authors other crime related novels which I’m expecting to be every bit as entertaining. Highly recommended even if you’re not a vampire fan.