Fiction Reviews


(2010) Scott G. Mariani, Avon, £6.99, pbk, 472pp, ISBN 978-1-847-56212-8

Vampire, it transpires, have moved with the times. With drugs that enable them to survive daylight and special bullets that are lethal to vampires, they can enjoy all that 21st century human society has to offer including fast cars, mobile (cell) smart phones, and the all the trappings of wealth. These days humans are not killed but vampires only take what they need and also they do not turn a human. Of course there has to be order kept within the ranks and this is where the Vampire federation comes in with its own force of agents to keep potential renegades in line.

However some still hanker after the old ways. And then there are also the unseen ancient ones. So when affluent vampire Gabriel starts to lead a faction towards the traditional way of life with the support of some of the ancient ones, it becomes a bad day for Vampire Federation agent Alexandra (Alex) Stone. Things get further complicated when a human police detective, Inspector Joel Solomon, gets caught up in a potential human murder case of a teenager who has in fact been turned…

OK, so this is not a horror classic and Scott G. Mariani is not known for his horror writing: his previous supernatural thriller novels have been a series whose protagonist is an ex-SAS theology expert. Nor is Avon a SF/F imprint. Avon belongs to HarperCollins whose fantasy seems to either come under Harper itself but also from the HarperCollins imprint Voyager. Indeed having looked at the Avon webpage it is hard to get a handle on exactly to whom its books are aimed but clearly it is not the SF/F market: Uprising seemed to be the only title of its kind being advertised there (June, 2010). However despite lacking a good horror publishing stable this is a surprisingly good read. Not only is it competently written, the horror dimension is handled with a certain logic if not panache that one rarely sees outside of specialist genre imprints. Yes, it is a bit gung-ho but then that is the type of book this is and, indeed, it does gung-ho rather well.

Uprising is the first in a series and the next, Relic, is due out Spring 2011. I know that sometime I'll be up for some of Scott G. Mariani's supernatural action and so will probably satisfy my curiosity as to what Alex and Joel will get up to next now that the renegades are on the move and the ancients stirring...

Jonathan Cowie

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