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Stalking The Vampire (A John Justine Mallory Mystery) by Mike Resnick

01/02/2009. Contributed by Pauline Morgan

Buy Stalking The Vampire in the USA - or Buy Stalking The Vampire in the UK

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pub: Pyr/Prometheus Books. 239 page hardback. Price: $25.00 (US). ISBN: 978-1-59102-649-5.

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Vampires are back on the agenda and not just the sexy, adolescent vegetarian variety as in the film 'Twilight' and the books that spawned it. There are nasty ones around, too. Charlene Harris in her 'Dead' series of books has made them an ethnic minority with all the protection in law that accords to that status. She has nice and nasty vampires, sexy and repulsive, ambitious and arrogant. They have all the attributes of the humans they once were. Mike Resnick goes for the humorous as well as the nasty.

In 'Stalking The Unicorn', the first in this series of adventures featuring the private eye, John Justin Mallory, we were introduced to a parallel New York where supernatural creatures are the norm. At the end of 'Stalking The Unicorn', Mallory was trapped in the other New York as the way between the two closed. As he had nothing to go back for, he is quite content to carry on his business here. Mallory has a new partner, big game hunter (retired) Winnifred Carruthers, he shares the office with Periwinkle, a magic mirror which is willing to discuss racing form with him or show him pornographic images and Felina, a cat-person, a useful assistant but is often distracted by food and things that glitter.

'Stalking The Vampire' follows the same pattern as the previous novel, as all the action takes place over one night, from dusk until dawn, the time on All Hallow's Eve. It begins when Mallory realises that Winnifred's visiting nephew, Rupert, has been bitten by a vampire - one of the nasty kind. Some of the usual rules apply - if Rupert is bitten three times, he will be turned. He then has to find the offending vampire before sunrise and deal with him. Hunting a vampire on this particular night of the year is not easy - there are too many possibilities on the street like partying. Then there are the distractions of the goblin hawkers, always trying to sell something to the unwary punter and Mallory always seems to attract complications. One is Bats McGuire. He is a small, rotund and inept vampire who, despite being one, is not a particularly useful authority on vampires. Another is a dragon who calls himself Scaly Jim Chandler and who wants to write hard-boiled detective fiction. He follows Mallory around taking notes and can't understand why Mallory is not perpetually snogging well-upholstered broads and indulging in gunfights with the bad guys.

Like the previous novel, this book is full of humour, puns (some of them cringe-worthy) and innuendo. Resnick definitely has a skewed outlook on life and for a bit of light reading, you cannot go far wrong with this series. May there be many more of them.

Pauline Morgan

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