Vola’s (How to Find a Flock, 2017, etc.) third book revisits the splatter-core territory of his debut, Monekytown (2012), but with a vampire protagonist who must choose between the triple lures of immortality, love, and revenge.
We first meet Ryan Driggs—star-crossed lover and 128-year-old vampire—as he crosses Bedford Avenue on his way to meet his latest blood donor. Described as “hot in a moody-adjunct-professor kind of way,” Ryan is a member of a tribe of blood-eaters who have lived in Brooklyn since pre-Colonial times. Together with the former slave Frank Lafayette and a few other thinly characterized immortals, Ryan is confined to this geography by the laws of the vampire virus, which, should he ever cross the East River, would abandon him to his last human condition—afflicted with late-stage lung cancer. If Ryan sticks with his current state of apathetic stasis all will be well, but the first twist in this book of many twists sees Ryan’s human girlfriend kidnapped by a hostile tribe of undead Manhattanites. Ryan and the rest of the Brooklyn tribe are also targets of their brethren’s hostility, but why? And why now? To answer these questions, Vola takes readers on a lovingly detailed travelogue across Brooklyn and onto the island of Manhattan itself as Ryan seeks to unravel the mystery of his making, his makers, and the desires of his nonbeating heart. Fast-paced and convoluted, this novel entertains but falls short of engaging with the questions its premise posits. The many conundrums of a society of deathless warriors who live among the hyperyouth of the millennial generation are largely ignored in favor of an ever increasing body count.
A book for thriller enthusiasts who like their vampires with a side of conspiracy theory, it promises more than it knows how to deliver.