Two agents—one a vampire, the other a werewolf—clash when attempting to stop a rampaging vampwolf in this paranormal comedy.
Vampire Special Agent Samuel Johnson’s latest mission from VATE (Vampires Against the Evil) is fairly routine: capture a vampwolf terrorizing Des Moines, Iowa. There’s just one problem. The vampire’s boss, Beryl, is partnering him with Joseph Butler, a werewolf. Samuel, a typically solemn, calculating vampire, dreads working with an impulsive, unruly wolf. Organizations like VATE were created to keep humans, who’d centuries ago hunted vampires and wolves into near extinction, safe but ignorant of both races. When the vampwolf goes on a Friday night rage at the mall, Samuel and Joseph easily agree on rescuing human shoppers that haven’t yet managed to flee. But Samuel wants a precise plan of attack, while Joseph impetuously strikes, intent on killing the vampwolf. Complicating matters are two groups of the Evil Ones (vampires) and Wild Ones (werewolves), feral versions of each that would rather kill/eat than protect humans. They exchange blows with the vampwolf as well but could target humans at any time—or turn on the agents. If Samuel and Joseph can find the vampwolf in human form, they’ll have a chance of killing him. That, however, would necessitate cooperating with each other, an arduous feat by its very nature. The novel is a quick read with beaucoup action sequences. A large portion of the laughs comes from Samuel’s first-person perspective. The lofty narrator repeatedly disparages humans, whom he considers stupid, and even apologizes for possibly offending werewolf readers before calling them “obnoxious.” Carpenter (A Limitless Policy, 2014, etc.) sets his story apart with some unfamiliar genre traits: vampires and werewolves do not turn humans into their kind, and both agents can transform (Samuel into a mist or bat) while somehow retaining their clothes and weapons. Intermittent, chapter-length flashbacks to Beryl handing out the assignment and Samuel first meeting his furry partner slow down an otherwise steady pace; shorter recaps would have been as effective. Nevertheless, a few genuine surprises in the final act make for a solid ending and potential setup for a sequel.
Supernatural high jinks abound in this joyfully flippant tale.