The biology and ethics of vampirism are revealed with frat-house gusto in Moore’s fitfully entertaining tenth novel, a sequel to his 1995 romp, Bloodsucking Fiends.
We’re back in San Francisco, where wannabe writer C. Thomas (Tommy) Flood has gone all the way, so to speak, with his gorgeous girlfriend Jody Stroud, and joined her among the undead. The novel records their encounters with others, including Tommy’s fellow Safeway employees (“the Animals”), one of whom—born-again Clint—hopes to save Tommy from the cool new life the fledgling vampire enjoys (though Tommy does have issues with “the foul, dead, blood-drinking part”). There are also variously affable and/or threatening figures, such as the homeless Emperor of San Francisco (based on a real historical character), street person William and his “huge cat” Chet, new-in-town teens Jared White Wolf and Abby Normal, a hooker named Blue (who is, in fact, painted that very color) and, hovering ominously (often upside-down) in the background, Jody’s mentor (i.e., the guy who bit her first), centuries-old Elijah Ben Sapir, who “had begun this adventure thinking himself the puppet-master, now he was all entangled in the strings.” This is a novel that asks the question, “What’s the point of being immortal if we have to floss?” Moore handles its goofier-than-thou plot adroitly, springing a droll half-surprise at The Very End. Still, it’s basically a collection of straight lines and zingers. Moore’s fans won’t mind much, because Tommy is as engaging as he is clueless, and his willing “minion” Abby possesses a winning combination of cheerleader pizzazz and Goth-inflected Dark Side grunge.
Think of a collaboration among Anne Rice, S.J. Perelman and Pedro Almodóvar. In other words, Moore in the usual vein (jugular, that is).