on August 21, 2005
I have read PN Elrod's 'The Vampire Files' many, many times. The series is a wonderful and lively one that hooked me becasue I like vampires, and snagged me into loving mystery stories. I wish these sold in hardcover, or better yet, a movie!
on July 1, 2004
Book Review by C. Douglas Baker
If you like comic book quality action/adventure with a bit of the supernatural thrown in you will like Bloodlist, Book One of The Vampire Files. Bloodlist cannot really be considered part of the horror genre because, really, it isn't that scary. That is unless an inept vampire getting riddled with bullet holes and blundering into trouble constantly constitutes "horror".
Set in a gangster ridden Chicago, circa late 1930's, Jack Fleming, an unemployed reporter, is murdered. Jack comes back as a vampire as a result of an extended affair with a vampire, Maureen. He likens vampirism to a disease that is not contagious and is hard to catch or "we would be up to our armpits in vampires". The mysterious Maureen has inexplicably disappeared, leaving an obvious opening for the next book in the series. But I digress. Jack has been murdered by gangsters but his post-transformation amnesia leaves him with few clues as to why he was murdered; so he snoops around. Along the way he runs into a personable private eye, Charles Escott. Together they try to unravel the mystery, rather clumsily if the truth be known. Both are rather worse for the wear by the end of the adventure. And the mystery is really solved by....well, lets not spoil it.
Bloodlist certainly is not great literature but it is rather fun. Characterization is surprisingly well done and while the plot is not exceptional it does keep the reader's interest. If you want a relaxing read where little mental energy has to be expended and the story is both humorous and fast paced, then check out Bloodlist. On the other hand, if you are still searching for the next coming of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles steer well clear.
on June 17, 2003
Bloodlist is the first in a series of Jack Flemming, a reporter/writer turned Vampire in the midst of the post prohibition times of Chicago. Although Capone is in prision, mobsters still rule the streets, run the illegal gambling halls and have the cities polititions in their back pockets. Turf wars continue, revenge is a household word, and the various gangs are still as greedy for money and power as ever. They kill when they have to and know how to work the system. The one thing they've never come across is a real live Vampire.
Jack Flemming, only one day in Chicago has his life totally turned around and due to incidents in his past history turns into one of the undead. Jack's Vampire powers are somewhat different than those you will find in most of the other books featuring Vampires, and it is these very powers that make this book as entertaining as it is.
P.N. Elrod provides a nice blend of gangsters, mystery, violence, comedy, and the supernatural powers of a Vampire. The book moves along quickly and is action packed starting from the first paragraph. This is an easy series to get hooked on.
on March 22, 2003
Jack Fleming had a problem. He found himself washed up on the shore of Lake Michigan, in bloodstain clothes and very dead. Even before he can figure out what happened, somebody slams a car into him. What has he become and why can't he remember how he died?
Now the ace reporter must become a detective to solve his own murder before somebody figures out how to murder him again and make it stick!
Great characters and only the first book in the series. Warning; if you buy and read this book you will very likely have to buy and read them all!
on November 21, 2002
Good book, I've read it more than once. I can't really say much for the books that follow this one, save ART IN THE BLOOD, DARK SLEEP, LADY CRYMSYN and COLD STREETS. In the rest Jack's pretty much running from difrent forms of the mob. They're not bad or anything, I still like them, but if you read them you may want to have them all on hand. Because one goes RIGHT into the next.
on December 15, 2001
"Bloodlist" begins the saga of Jack Fleming, a 1930s journalist who discovers a little too much for his own good--and after his brutal murder by mobsters, returns for revenge as a vampire. This first story, told from Fleming's own perspective in a wry and laconic style that is much different from Elrod's other works, is just the start of an exciting and humorous series.
Elrod has a great range at period stories, and the violent streets of gangland Chicago provide an especially unique setting. While Fleming often refers to himself as "supernatural", this book and its sequels give refreshing thought to more biological aspects of his vampirism. To top all that, the characters are engaging, the action is vibrant, and Fleming is truly a one-of-a-kind protagonist.
Whether you enjoy detective stories, vampire stories, or both, "Bloodlist" is not to be passed up.
on June 6, 2001
Meet Jack Flemming, ace reporter for a New York newspaper. At the beginning of our story, Mr. Flemming has just woken up to find out a number of interesting things about himself. First off, he's dead. Actually, to be more precise, he's UNdead: apparently the woman he had been dating who said she was a vampire wasn't kidding!! Jack Flemming is now a member of the Creatures of the Night Club, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails.
Having had an idea that something like this just might happen to him (there is no guarantee that being bitten by a vampire would transform you into one), Jack is surprisingly cool about his new transition. What is bothering him more is WHY is he dead in the first place, and what is he doing in Chicago? Some nasty-looking bullet holes are rapidly healing on his chest, which gives him the sinking suspicion he didn't die from food poisoning. Unfortunately, dying has affected his memory and he can't remember why he's dead or what he's supposed to be doing in Chicago. Still, as the jacket says, "there are definite advantages to being a vampire. For starters, you can track down your own murderer."
A good deal of "Bloodlist" involves Jack getting familiar with his new body and all the new restrictions and expansions on his new "life" (no pun intended). He is, of course, suddenly restricted to a liquid diet and daylight hours are right out. On the other hand, he has gained tremendous strength, agility, heightened senses and a handy ability to disappear at will (a skill he uses to hilarious effect in his efforts to track down his own killer and determine why he was bumped off).
Ms. Elrod has created a very likable fellow in a heretofore-unexplored genre: hardboiled vampire detective. In the tradition of such classics as "The Maltese Falcon", Flemming explores the underbelly of Chicago in the years after Capone was imprisoned, but the crime bosses still ran the city. It's got that gritty, seedy flavor to it that detective and mystery aficionados will love, and with the introduction of a main character that is a vampire, the book takes the reader into a new and exciting direction.
Flemming himself is a fine fellow and unlike the bloodthirsty, virgin-enchanting monsters of most vamp stories who would just as soon rip your heart out as say hello. Unlike most other vamp stories where the vampires have a seething contempt of humankind, Flemming tries to keep his humanity about him as much as possible and put his new talents to good use by avenging his own death. He visits the stockyards to feed and even sends money to his mother in rural New York. He is, in short, the sort of guy you'd actually like to have as a friend, though he won't be much fun as a dinner date.
This is the first in Vampire Files series, and though you don't need to read them in order, you'll find that you WANT to because they're so good. I myself am not into vamp or Goth culture, but I do very much enjoy a good read. If you're looking for ancient, power-mad monsters who mercilessly feast on the living blood of the innocent, you'll probably be disappointed. If you're looking for a new detective story with a talented man still grappling with issues of his humanity (all the while trading wisecracks and one-liners with himself and other characters) and his search for the guilty, you've found it right here. The whole series is highly recommended!!
on June 2, 2001
I picked up this book on a recommendation as a good example of books that cross genres. (The novel I'm working on cuts across several genres.) I love vampire books, but I'm not a big fan of hard-core detective novels, so I wasn't sure if I would like this or not. The emphasis, it seemed to me, was on the detective genre. Yes, Jack becomes a vampire and he has to deal with his new undead status, but it seems his top priority is to remember how he got dead in the first place and solve his own murder. Though I suppose if I had a chance to solve my own murder, and I could do it by becoming invisible and floating through walls, I'd do it, too!
Because of Jack's amnesia regarding the days immediately preceding his murder, the mystery is rather murky until the very end. Who are these guys, and why do they want him dead, anyway? Still, the action is exciting, the scenes in which Jack "haunts" the bad guys are a hoot, and the payoff is worth the wait. Admittedly, this novel won't get me to jump on the hardboiled detective bandwagon, but I might read more in this series.
on February 11, 2001
I've been hooked on vampire novels for a long time but for some reason have been bypassing P.N. Elrod novels and finally took chance on Bloodlist. I'm not surprised that I really enjoyed the story of Jack Fleming, a vampire with a conscience and on a mission to find out who killed him. The story is filled with a refreshing mix of characters. After Jack, I especially loved Charles Escott and Shoe Coldfield and I find the time period charming (the era of prohibition). This novel was a pleasant change and I've already picked up volume 2, LifeBlood and hope that I will enjoy it as much as I hope to slowly work my way through the entire series.
on January 30, 2001
This is a vampire novel. Those who already know that they like vampire novels, anything at all that features a vampire, can skip this review, and likewise, those who hate the whole idea of vampires can skip it. But for those trying to decide whether or not to read more of this genre, or whether the one vampire novel you've already read was a fluke, it may help to have some ways to categorize these novels. Thus: BunRab's Standard Vampire Classification Guide. First, most authors of vampire novels approach from one of the main genres of genre fiction; thus their background may be primarily in romance, or in science fiction/fantasy, or in murder mysteries, or in horror. Second, many vampire novels come in series; knowing whether this is one of a series, and where in the series it falls, may be helpful. Then we have some particular characteristics: - Is the vampire character (or characters) a "good guy" or a "bad guy"? Or are there some of each? - Are there continuing characters besides the vampire, through the series? - Are there other types of supernatural beings besides vampires? - Can the vampire stand daylight under some circumstances, or not stand daylight at all? - Does the vampire have a few other supernatural characteristics, many other supernatural characteristics, or none other than just being a vampire? (E.g., super strength, change into an animal, turn invisible) - Does the vampire have a regular job and place in society, or is being a vampire his or her entire raison d'etre? - Does the vampire literally drink blood, or is there some other (perhaps metaphorical) method of feeding? - Is sex a major plot element, a minor plot element, or nonexistent? - Is the entire vampire feeding act a metaphor for sex, part of a standard sex act, or unrelated to sex? - Is the story set in one historical period, more than one historical period, or entirely in the present day? - Does the story have elements of humor, or is it strictly serious? - Is the writing style good, or is the writing just there to manage to hold together the plot and characters?
P.N. Elrod's series about Jack Fleming is in the hard-boiled detective genre. Fleming is a good guy (although with worries about his own ethics). Fleming is a former journalist (before he died), now working as a sidekick to a private investigator. The series takes place in the Chicago of the '30s, after Al Capone is locked up, but before the Depression ends. Criminal gangs are still a big force in Chicago. Besides Jack and his boss, various criminal mobs, and police both honest and corrupt, are recurring characters in the series. So is Jack's girlfriend, Bobbi, a nightclub singer. Jack drinks blood, but it doesn't have to be human- he uses cows at the Stockyards usually, and likes horses as a treat. He does, however, also drink a little from his girlfriend during sex. Sex is discreet and not too frequent in the series- no explicit details; this is a detective series, not a romance. Jack has a few supernatural powers associated with being a vampire: the usual ones of being stronger and faster than humans, and he also can turn invisible and float through walls. He must sleep during the day, on his native earth - but garlic and crosses don't bother him. There aren't any other kinds of supernatural characters in the series. As befits the detective genre, there is a certain amount of wisecracking in the dialogue; Jack can be a smart-ass sometimes, and the criminals can be inadvertently funny. Overall, the series is a well-done version of the genre, each book being easy to read and most of the characters being well-described and thought out.
The first book in the series has Jack solving a very important crime: his own murder. When he wakes up to the vampire life, he has to get used to it. A very alert private investigator notices something odd about Jack, and arranges quite ingeniously to meet him. Together, they encounter members of several different gangs. Jack meets Bobbi, a singer at the Nightcrawler Club; it's love at first site, and she doesn't mind the bite. We are left at the end of the book with one mystery resolved, but several others still hanging that let us know there will be another in the series.