A TASTE FOR POWER by Muriel Dobbin


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Vampire novel + Washington-politics novel = an uneasy, silly hybrid that, some in-joke nastiness aside, mostly plays on the level of TV-sitcoms like Bewitched or The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. The idea here is that there are lots of secret, centuries-old vampires around (""The Family"")--including Secretary of Energy Andrew Caithness and his niece/lover Catriona, our narrator. So when Andrew decides to run for President, there are lots of bloodsuckers in high places ready to help him along. But a big problem arises: the need for blood from ""the Others"" (preferably fresh as opposed to powdered or frozen) on the campaign trail, which leads Catriona to the neck and bed of Times reporter Rodney (""he proved to be quite delicious, and most nourishing"")--who unfortunately gets infected with the vampire vibes (""I really do want to bite you. . . draw blood. . . drink. . . drink your blood""), becomes the notorious Georgetown Biter, and embarks on a crusade to expose Andrew's vampiredom. Meanwhile, too, reporter Judith is catching on. (She's a ""Third""--halfway between ""Family"" and ""Others."") And eventually Andrew will have to withdraw his candidacy because of the wild accusations (not to mention his continuing scandalous liaison with Catriona--who really does love poor, bonkers Rodney). Could a writer like Suzy McKee Charnas (The Vampire Tapestry, p. 724) have developed this vampire/ politics connection into something genuinely creepy or resonant? Perhaps. Newspaperwoman Dobbin, however, plays it strictly for cutesy laughs--a werewolf butler, a haunted house, ugly snipes at D.C. colleagues--and the harmless result is too flip to draw blood, too uninspired to provide real comic bite.

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 1980
Publisher: Marek--dist. by Putnam