The Vampire Files Paperback – Sep 5 2006
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About the Author
P.N. “Pat” Elrod, best known for The Vampire Files and the Jonathan Barrett: Gentleman Vampire series, co-edited Time of the Vampires, and has stories in several other anthologies. A great fan of Forever Knight, she collaborated with actor Nigel Bennet (LaCroix) on Keeper of the King and His Father’s Son. She is currently working on a new set of toothy titles and branching into the mystery and science fiction genres.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
ART IN THE BLOOD
"Art in the Blood" sees Jack coming to the rescue of a man at a party and then being sucked into problems within the art world. Alex Adrian was a famous artist but hasn't done anything since his wife committed suicide; Evan Robley and his sister Sandra are also artists and when more suspicious events start taking place, including a death for which Alex Adrian might be responsible, Jack and Escott have to unravel the plot and work out what's really going on. The Chicago underworld plays its part as usual with more dodgy characters who have it in for Jack and Escott.
This story gives us more of an insight into the relationship between Jack and Bobbi as well as Jack needing to use his powers of vampire hypnosis more and more, leading to more people finding out what he truly is. It's another great read with a lighthearted feel and yet sometimes a darker undertone.
FIRE IN THE BLOOD
The first page in this book is great fun as we meet Jack apparently stripping Olivia Vandemore's evening gown from her and about to sacrifice her on an altar to Sabajajji, the Spider God. Fortunately this is just part of the novel he is writing rather than reality - although reality for Jack Fleming, Vampire PI, is often as bloodthirsty as this novel.
Jack and Charles Escott, Private Agent, are summoned to see Mr Sebastian Pierce, a rich retired Chicago man who tasks them to find a valuable bracelet that his daughter's boyfriend or a friend of his may have stolen. Jack finds himself shadowing the daughter to Bobbi's club and soon enough they stumble into murder and mayhem. A new member of the Chicago Underground, Vaughn Kyler, comes into play in this book and he's a particularly creepy individual who is resistant to Jack's vampire hypnosis. This book also sees the darker side of Jack having an outing after an episode of hypnotising goes rather wrong. Once again Jack finds himself in dodgy situations and only escapes by the skin of his teeth - is this ability going to pall any time soon?
The ending of this book is rather open and in fact leads directly into the next story, "Blood on the Water", although fortunately this episode does reach some sort of a conclusion. However Jack's rather more off balance in this book because of the darker side of his powers and we are learning more about him through it. Another great episode in this excellent series - a series that it probably pays to read in order.
BLOOD ON THE WATER
This story starts directly after "Fire In The Blood" and I think it would probably be rather difficult to understand everything that's going on, along with the fairly large cast of characters, without reading some of the previous books.
Jack Fleming, Vampire, had a bit of a shock in the last book when his vampiric nature got away from him and he nearly killed a woman. He's still struggling with the aftermath of those events in this story and is unwilling to use his hypnosis skills but equally doesn't want to talk about it to the rather perceptive Charles Escott, his partner.
The 'baddie', Vaughn Kyler, who we first met in the last book plays a significant role in the beginning of this story when he gives Jack the ultimatum to leave town or die. This gives Jack huge moral qualms - Jack knows that if he doesn't kill Kyler then neither Charles nor Bobbi will be safe, and yet how can he become a murderer? I think the way that the author showed Jack's fears about this was excellent.
In this story everyone is still chasing the bracelet from the last book and Jack enlists the help of Gordy, another local crime boss who's helped them in the past. Unfortunately a turf war seems to be breaking out with a new entrant, Angela Paco, playing her part as well. The three-sided war looks to be unstoppable and Jack has to decide on his actions with Kyler.
Once again, as in most of the other stories, Jack gets himself into various fixes and nearly dies. His physical limits are tested in a new way and there is more violence surrounding him. In the earlier books there was a lot of situation comedy where Jack was acting like a ghost and it happens again, very amusingly, in this book. However the turf war in this book lends it a darker feel and no doubt sets up for further instalments.
In short, it's another good read and we're getting further and further into Jack's character as the stories continue but this wouldn't be a good first book for a reader in this series.
But this e-book takes the cake. So far as I know the word "I" does not have a "1" in it. Two or three spelling or punctuation errors on EVERY SINGLE SCREEN. It's almost like the book was dictated to a speech-to-print program and published without the MS ever being seen by human eyes until it showed up - several dollars later - on my device. The publisher should be ashamed of itself. The production "standards" of this book are crap and the author should take someone to task for the embarrassment he has suffered because of it.
I suppose it would be too much to ask for a correct e-book to be published. If it is, I'll submit a content review.
I am also ecstatic to see that they have done a MUCH better job on the cover art than in the original mass market editions. If I had not been running a chain bookstore when the first one came out hadn't gotten a recommendation from one of my customers who loved the book, I would NEVER have picked it because the cover art was so tacky. I think a lot of good books go unnoticed because the publisher harms the book with bad art. Publishers: use a plain colored cover instead of something that makes the book look like tough-guy drivel or something else they are NOT! Good cover art sells books, BAD ART KILLS!
I recommend this series to readers who are interesed in how a 'normal' human might react to the circumstances created by being made vampire unexpectedly. Jack isn't a deliberate hero, and is no part of any 'brotherhood' or 'secret society'; he is instead a Joe Average hack journalist scrabbling to make a living in the depression, a likable guy who bumbles around trying to figure out what happened to him and feeling like he is up to his waist in the quicksand that has become his existence.
In many vampire fiction novels, becoming a 'creature of the night' magically solves a host of probelms and enables the hero to go on a crusade or gain lots of 'powers' which help to cope; this doesn't happen for Jack. He tries to do the best he can under the circumstances he's been handed, but finds himself becoming more at odds with the 1920's organized criminal empire he's become inadvertently pitted against, and finds himself relying more and more upon the few human friends he has who know what he is. His vulnarability is at times wrenching.
These books are enjoyable fiction which make you think about what it REALLY might be like to have the vampiric circumstance thrust upon you. No sturm and drang, no graphic sex scenes, but plenty of emotional response where the reader becomes invested in Jack, his friends, and the trials of his new existence.
I recommend these book Highly - watch out, though: they're hard to put down and you may face the hazard of staying up way too late to finsh and showing up for work the next day with dark circles under your eyes!
I like the authors voice, it is gender neutral unlike much of the other Urban Fantasy rubbish. The problem is she is serving up the wimpiest Vampire you have ever met as some hard boiled noir detective. It is an insult to Mike Hammer and Phillip Marlowe (either whom can kick this guys ass without supernatural powers). All he does is whine and whimper through the whole book, that is when he is not making the dumbest move imaginable under the circumstances. It is agonizing.
Given this guys supernatural abilities, which he conveniently forgets to use every time the author requires the bad guys to get the drop on him, each book should be about 10 minutes long. She created this very powerful character and now seems unable to create a natural situation where he would be challenged. Hence, his own stupidity is the real nemesis. In general, men are going to find this book very frustrating. Fleming is definitely a woman's idea of a man and men will find him neutered.
Her sex scenes and relationship dialog are pretty restrained which I appreciate. She is just not a very good writer. Not the worst in this genre by any means. I would stay away for women authors who use their first initials in the pen name. I am not saying they are hiding their gender, there just seems to be an excellent correlation between that and bad writing.
No plot, no twist, no crime, remove the Vampire gimmick and all you are left with is whining and whimpering, and sheer idiocy.