Vampires rule the world, but they’ve been domesticated along the way in Sosnowski’s unnervingly funny second novel (after Rapture, 1996).
Years ago, blue-collar narrator Martin Kowalski founded the Benevolent Vampire Society, which specialized in rooting out murderers, rapists, and other undeserving humans. But the society’s good intentions were eventually swamped by those old vampiric primal urges. A swift campaign by Martin and others to “turn” the world—he got a job at a blood bank and put a little drop of himself into each bag—has by the time of the book (the future, that is) resulted in an almost-all-vampire population. Since the only remaining humans are a few bred on illegal-but-tolerated farms for wealthy vamps, the thrill of the hunt is pretty much gone; everyone lives on store-bought blood, which Martin heats up in his Mr. Plasma, buying no-longer-needed items like Count Chocula cereal on eBay. Martin, who is having an existential/mid-eternity crisis, reaches a spiritual crossroads when he comes across Isuzu, an orphaned little girl who’s escaped from a breeding farm. Intending at first to just toss her into the trunk and have a nice snack later, Martin ends up bringing Isuzu home and putting off killing her for so long that he ends up as a surrogate father. Sosnowski has a good time with his premise, loading the text with so many bad puns you can almost hear the drummer’s rim shot, but also figuring out the practicalities of an all-vampire world: “One of the fringe benefits of being a vampire was you always got the cheapest fares because you always flew the red eye. Now, the red eye’s all there is.” The author for the most part adroitly avoids the sentimental landmines inherent in his vampire-as-dad premise, and the narrative starts to lose focus only toward the end.
Sardonic and wistful at the same time.