Wednesday, 6 June 2007
'No Dominion' - Charlie Huston
After the debacle that was ‘Danse Macabre’ I needed a little something that would restore my faith in vampire novels, something more hardcore that isn’t afraid to take a chance. Luckily for me, the first book I picked up was ‘No Dominion’, the impressive follow-up to Charlie Huston’s ‘Already Dead’ and part of the ongoing tale of Joe Pitt (Manhattan Private Investigator and Vampire).
As an independent ‘rogue’, in the middle of a city strictly divided amongst the vampire communities, life has never been simple for Joe Pitt and now things are going to get a lot more complicated. A new drug for vampires has hit the streets but unexpected side effects threaten to betray the vampire’s secret existence to the world. Joe is called upon to make a perilous trip across town to track down the drug’s source. A trip across Coalition territory is bad enough but how long can a white vampire survive on the mean streets of a vampire Harlem ruled by the notorious DJ Grave Digga? Joe has no choice but to find out, especially if he wants to be in the safety of his own home by sunrise…
Charlie Huston’s ‘Already Dead’ was a laconic, gripping and dirty ‘Raymond Chandler’ take on vampires, reminiscent of ‘Blade’ but without that comic book feel. The gritty New York atmosphere made you think that this could almost be happening in real life. While Huston doesn’t deliver anything new in this installment, he definitely maintains his high standards and you could say that you can’t improve on perfection. Huston skillfully interweaves a set of circumstances that are so overpowering they would crush anyone, Pitt’s dogged determination in the face of adversity earns the reader’s respect and keeps the pages turning. Not least of Pitt’s problems is the façade he must constantly maintain with his HIV Positive girlfriend, his vampire blood could cure her but the result of that would be that she lives the same life as him (instead of living in blissful ignorance of his real life). There are some touching moments between them that serve as an effective counterpoint to the casual violence that is an everyday part of Joe’s world.
The fact that ‘No Dominion’ is a relatively quick read (at around 250 pages) is testament to Huston’s skill at delivering a tight story with no excess baggage. Everything happens for a reason and that reason will not be the one that you think it is. The ending kicks the hell out of your expectations and promises more goodness to come in future books. I’m in for the long haul with Joe Pitt and very much looking forward to seeing what comes next.
Ten out of Ten