Sunday, May 9, 2021

Michael F. Haspil: Graveyard Shift

In the first book in the new series, Michal F. Haspil adds a new warrior to the urban fantasy world, one that has been dead longer than most vampires have been alive:
 
Alex Menkaure, former Pharaoh and now a mummy, is now a cop in a specialized unit that deals with vampires and anything else that goes bump in the night. Alex also has a partner Marcus, a vampire, that he has worked with previously in a specialized government unit and together they are probably the best team when it is discovered that someone is poisoning the artificial blood supply. Instead of sating the vampire that drinks it, instead they enter into a blood frenzy and kill anyone who is around. Alex and Marcus need to discover the source of the poisoned blood in order to stop mayhem from erupting on the streets, but there are old and strong forces at play here, human and vampire and only one can win.
 
Well this was a really fun book and had me reading way past my bedtime and trying to read every extra minute that I could get, even if it was just a page or two. All the usual suspects are here with werewolves, vampires and vampires assimilating into the human world, synthetic blood and such. But where Haspil shines is with his addition of adding a Mummy into the mix, yet you read that right a Mummy. Who would have thought that would change the dynamic so much, but trust me it did. Also this was Haspil's debut novel, and it was really well done and I think the mystery aspect with the synthetic blood was fairly well developed.

Personally, I love Alex as a character and he does have some character growth in this book which is appreciated and unexpected for an individual who has walked the Earth for centuries. Haspil had such a cool, unique and different idea by bringing Egyptian culture into the paranormal one, and honestly it makes me think why it has not been done more. Haspil found such a cool way to fight vampires and really who better than someone who is powered by the Sun, the complete opposite of the Vampire life. Alex also doesn't give much of Fuck about most things, seeing as how he has lived a long time, this does make him feel like an anti-hero at times.

I think the main problem that I had with this book was that it does not read like a first book in a series. There are too many references to the past and I get that Alex and Marcus are centuries old, and there will be history there, but I think a better first novel would have been one where they were just starting out with UMBRA or still under that program. UMBRA is a government agency that they both used to be apart of toe "deal" with the emerging Vampire program, so I would have been an interesting book too. What happens in this book is that Haspil refers back to UMBRA too often (I want to say several times in each chapter) that it makes the reader feel like they are missing something, that there was a book before this one that fleshed out the relationship between Marcus and Alex more and how they both came to be police cops.

I really enjoyed this debut novel and I think that Haspil brought some fresh ideas into the urban fantasy genre. I do hope that he continues on with this series, as I know I would pick up the next one.

Enjoy!!!
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Sunday, May 2, 2021

Catherine Ryan Howard: The Nothing Man

Catherine Ryan Howard takes the readers into the mind of  a serial perpetrator, The Nothing Man, where anyone could be his next victim:

 Eve Black, aged 12, was the only survivor of a serial killer attack on her family and she has made it her mission to bring the perpetrator known as The Nothing Man to justice. The problem is that there was never any clues left at any of the crimes scenes and there were often different types of crimes that were committed that the police were never sure if it was The Nothing Man or not, as one day he just stopped. Jim Doyle is the Nothing Man, and one day on shift at work he sees a book that features his name and he is compelled to buy it. The book takes him back to what he would consider his Glory Day, when he could be who he truly was. The farther that Jim reads into the book, he realizes how close Eve is and knows that she will stop at nothing to find him, unless Jim can stop her first.

I really enjoyed this book, as it was something different from an very overwhelming saturated serial killer genre. This is one of the first books that I have read in this genre where you actually know who the killer is and you get almost everything from their POV. In that way it had a true crime type of feel to it.

What sets this book part is that one of the main POV is that of the killer/rapist/assaulter and the other is that of the book that was written about him and his terror on the public many years ago. This way we get a play between the crimes that Jim committed all those years ago, him reliving them and then wanting to become that man again. As well it shows two different perspective, how the police viewed the crimes and how the perpetrator did as well, and they do not always match up.

I wish that Howard would have gotten in deeper with Jim. I felt that the chapters from Jim's POV were too short and I "understand" parts of the reasons why Jim began his other way of life, I just wanted to know more about the man, more about his past, and more about what he did to curve the urges when he stopped, as we can tell from his current day POV he still has this craving to put people who wrong him in their "place". Honestly if this was a real person he would be want by every behaviorist and forensic psychologist out there.

As we know who are killer is throughout the book, there are not as many twists and turns along the way. The main mystery in this book was were Jim and the police able to figure out who The Nothing Man was and whether he would become that man again. I would say that there were two main twists (that I was able to figure out) and a third smaller twist that I did not see coming.

This was a really enjoyable read, and I appreciated that Howard took a different approach here. There are times where serial killer books, even from different authors, follow the same format so it is refreshing to find something new. I look forward to reading another book by Howard.

Enjoy!!!
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