Monday, December 05, 2011

Staked by J. F. Lewis

In a genre filled to capacity with romanticized vampires, Staked -- by new author J.F. Lewis -- offers a distinct alternative in his anti-hero Eric, a vampire who's a bit of a jerk. He turns his faithful girlfriend into a vampire, only to dump her in favor of her younger sister; he's a smart ass strip club owner who cares little about the people around him and only wants to be left alone; and he isn't shy about killing his own kind, let alone the other supernatural creatures that inhabit the locale known as Void City.

The story opens with Eric, who suffers from rage blackouts and general memory problems, unaware of why he has just killed a fellow vampire. The only thing he can deduce is that it was a "Master" vampire, a level in power below him -- he's known as a "Vlad." Soon a werewolf enters the scene and, being a natural enemy to the vampire, tries to destroy him. But he fails, and his death ultimately leads to an escalating series of revenge killings back and forth between the two groups.

Part of the fun of this page-turner is traveling with Eric as he figures things out, often creating more problems than he solves, hampered by his memory issues and general lack of decorum. Tabitha, his former girlfriend-turned-vampire, offers a different take on things within the chapters written from her point of view. With interesting side characters and an extremely well thought-out universe, Staked does incorporate some common vampire conventions, but the author expands on them and makes them his own. Added to this is a detailed level of blood and gore not often seen in the urban fantasy genre, used effectively here and often for hilarious effect.

Highly recommended, Staked ends with a cliffhanger, with the story continuing in the recently-released sequel ReVamped.

5 out of 5

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reprint edition (June 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439120749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439120743

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    Monday, December 05, 2011