Ferdinand’s sharp debut novel features a shape-shifting private eye who’s hellbent on slaying demonic beasts.
In a darkened alley one night, monster hunter (and shape-shifting werewolf) Nicholas “Nick” Pardoner comes across a vampire named Alex, and the two grapple before eventually forging an unlikely alliance. Alex turns out to be a goofy, satisfying foil for the straight-shooting Nick, as well as a powerful force in his own right. The overall story is, at its heart, a classic odd-couple tale, as the two misfits band together to achieve a common goal—to fight Xyj’Ru, a murder-happy demon of the underworld. Eventually, though, the police begin closing in on them, so Nick and Alex bring a nosy cop, John Doderberg, into their fold. It takes some doing, but they eventually convince him (after plying him with alcohol) that he must join them on their hunt in order to solve the mystery. The tale has the typical elements of a vampire novel, such as eroticism and battles with supernatural and super-powerful beings. It also features overly convenient magic, as when Alex and Nick escape trouble by conjuring just the right spell. In this particular regard, it’s a bit like the Harry Potter series or Twilight; overall, though, the subject matter here can be quite adult. These elements, however, won’t take away from readers’ enjoyment, as the novel is also packed to the brim with wonderfully flowing dialogue; take, for example, Alex’s comment on humans’ desire to believe in the supernatural: “You wouldn’t believe how many people have hired me to look for ghosts or poltergeists, and then been disappointed when I told them it was just air in their plumbing making those clanking and moaning sounds.” Ferdinand also makes a point of not relying only on fight scenes to push the narrative forward, as is common in other vampire series; instead, he delves deeply into Alex and Nick’s budding relationship, which begins on uneasy terms.
This supernatural thriller’s humor and well-developed relationships will keep the pages turning.