Sunday, August 24, 2008


So I mentioned that one of the novels I brought back from Worldcon was Staked by Jeremy Lewis. I read it immediately after finishing Soon I Will Be Invincible, and was struck by an odd similarity.

Not only are both books written in first person, but both books are written in first person viewpoints that alternate between a male and a female character. However, and here's the neat trick, I think Staked makes better use of the alternating viewpoints than the big-time mainstream novel.

Staked is basically a vampire noir mystery, featuring Eric, a vampire strip club owner with memory problems. He comes to in an alley, after having just killed another vampire during a "rage blackout." Almost immediately afterward, he is forced to kill a werewolf, setting in motion a chain of events that will change Eric's (un)life, as well as the lives of everyone around him.

I have to admit, the first chapter put me off a bit. There's a lot of ugliness in Eric's world, and Eric himself is a bit of an off-putting character. Vampires in this world are not glamorous, that's for sure. Add to that the necessity to infodump lots of world detail right up front to get us up to speed on Eric's character and surroundings, and I wasn't sure if I'd like Staked after the first chapter.

But Lewis pulls off some major scores after this. Riding a thin edge of comedy and disgust, he pulls you into Eric's world deftly, showing you the standard vampire hero surrounded by a cast of stock characters.

But when the viewpoint shifts to Tabitha, Eric's stripper girlfriend/ vampire groupie, you find out that she's a deeper character than Eric gave her credit for being. And as the novel unfolds through their shared viewpoints, you realize that the world Lewis has created is a more layered, more interesting place than either of his main characters realize. By splitting the viewpoint between two characters, Lewis is able to show us things about the characters and the world that no single viewpoint could have given us, and by the end, I was eager to read a second book in the series to learn more.

Fair warning: the book is full of strong language and graphic depictions of violence and sex and foul bodily functions. And the mystery isn't very strong. It's one of those "mysteries" where you really only have one viable suspect, so the big revelation of who's behind all the madness isn't much of a surprise. But the trip getting there is mighty fine.


Jeremy F. Lewis said...

Glad you enjoyed the book!


TheyStoleFrazier'sBrain said...

I really did. Can't wait to read the next one.