Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bitternest by Alan Draven (B)

BitternestAvailable from

Detective Graves enters a pact with the Vampires in order to save his town, and ultimately, the world from the ravages of avian virus. All he was to do is get rid of some half-breed vampires that have mysteriously grown in number as a result of the bird flu. The half-breeds are making alliances of their own too, and soon the town of Bitternest is set to explode in war between the Vampires, Humans, and half-breeds. But there are other players in the game that neither side had counted on.

Bitternest is an interesting mix of detectives and vampires, thought it is a bit unclear why a detective is picked to help the Vampires eradicate the half-breeds. Surely Graves is not going to kill all the half-breeds single-handedly. After all, he's not Rambo. This bit of a twitch gives the story a somewhat contrived feel and is a source of some disappointment-about 170 pages into the novel, the detective is not really doing anything to eradicate the blood mongers and yet this is his apparent goal.

But the writing is edited well enough and there is good action:
The person casting the shadow had its head lowered, so they couldn't make out its face. It looked human from where they were standing, but then again, vampires also looked human at first glance. "Can you tell us where we are?" Graves asked. No answer. He, she, or it just stood there, motionless.

"Don't you just hate it when you meet someone two hundred feet below the ground, and it doesn't answer you back?" Vallejo asked. Graves put a finger over his lips, telling Vallejo to shut up.

And creepiness:

"I'll get your tongue," it said, chuckling. It was a child. They weren't too sure if it was human, but it was a child, all right-a little girl with a high-pitched voice. Her words sent shivers down Vallejo's spine.

Nora turned around and gasped. Before she had time to scream, a large pack of red-hooded children leapt at her. Within seconds, they were all over her, biting the flesh off her neck, arms, legs, breasts, and tearing her face apart.

In the end, Bitternest is a good first effort from a promising writer.

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