Fiction Review

Stalking the Vampire

(2008) Mike Resnick, Pyr, ?.??, hrdbk, 264pp, ISBN 978-1-59102-649-5

Back in 1987 Resnick released Stalking the Unicorn which introduced the character of Private Eye John Justin Mallory (which Pyr have kindly re-issued, ?.??, pbk, 275pp, ISBN 978-1-59102-648-8), a man taken from his own reality to an alternate Manhattan inhabited by elves, unicorns, cat-people and so forth; the criminal kingpin of this town being the demon known as the Grundy. Now, 21 years after that adventure, Resnick returns to that universe for this sequel. Like the first book, the events of this one take place in the course of one night.

So, it is Halloween and Mallory's partner at the detective agency, Winnifred Carruthers, is happy, especially as she has her nephew staying with her. But it transpires that the nephew has been feeding on the aunt, having acquired the taint of vampirism, and said nephew is quickly killed by the vampire that turned him. Mallory has only until dawn to track the vampire down. His investigations take him to some weird places: Creepy Conrad's Cut-Rate All-Night Mortuary, the Vampire State Building, the Zombies' Ball and the Hills of Home Mortuary, Cemetery and Delicatessen, to name but a few. But there's another problem... Even if Mallory finds this old and powerful vampire, what is he going to do about it? Even with the grudging help of the Grundy, the guy with the fangs is going to be no pushover.

Both these books are very lightweight beach readers: nothing wrong with that of course. This should appeal to the likes of Terry Pratchett fans. Not really my cup of tea, I am afraid; most of the gags are too obvious and I have always felt that humour in print is exceedingly hard to do well. Perhaps my standards are just too high? But these are fun enough reads; I cannot really say any fairer than that. However, I would just mention that I liked the cover illustrations by Dan Dos Santos since, after all, credit where credit is due!

Tony Chester

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