Thursday, January 7, 2010

Book Review: A Chill In The Blood (Vampire Files) by P.N. Elrod

A Chill In The Blood (The Vampire Files) - P.N. Elrod

Jack Fleming is a vampire, living in Chicago in the 1930s- a time when mobsters rule the streets and the city is filled with crime and poverty, following the depression and the lift on alcohol prohibition. Working as a private investigator with his friend and partner, Charles Escott, Jack finds himself in the middle of a gang war after he survives an attempted hit on his life by insane crime lady Angela Paco.
With both Angela and her nemesis from New York, Sean Sullivan, vying for power in the already overrun city, and with corrupt cops on both sides, Jack and Charles don’t know who to trust.
Having already survived several attempts on his life by Angela, and Sullivan’s predecessor Kyler, Jack not only has to save his own skin this time, but he also has to protect young accountant Opal, who every mobster wants to keep on their books, as well as his friends, and any innocents who get caught in the crossfire between the criminals and the cops. Adding to the dilemma, Jack can only work at night, and he has to find time to stop by the stockyards for sustenance if he wants to keep his strength up, and survive the brutal war between the mobsters.

What I gained from reading this book:
In this novel, the power struggles between Angela Paco and Sean Sullivan throw the city of Chicago in turmoil. But there are also other players on the mob scene, including Jack’s acquaintances Shoe and Gordy, who have gangs of their own and are just as interested in gaining a stronger monopoly on the city. This struggle to reign supreme over others is not only prominent in the novel- it is in fact a common occurrence in many countries where gangs and underworld figures have a strong street presence. This novel helps to raise awareness about the corrupt conditions that some people have to live under, especially when they don’t have any other option but to seek assistance from those who have money, and thus, put themselves into the debt of criminals.

It's interesting how the author is able to incorporate the mobster world of 1930s Chicago with the story of a vampire private investigator, whose main mission in life (or afterlife) is to bring them to justice. It’s a mixture of two totally different genres that somehow works.

It seems as though nights last a long time in Chicago (or maybe the protagonist is just very proficient at getting a lot of stuff done in a short amount of time!). Jack Fleming’s waking hours are a little exaggerated but considering he falls unconscious during daylight hours, the author really has no choice but to give him a hectic night schedule.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Genre: Horror/ Crime

Recommended for: People interested in a different take on the usual vampire stories- this one includes mobsters, double-crossing and shady deals.

Australians can buy the book by clicking the picture below:

A Chill in the Blood

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