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So I’m a Vampyre. Spelled with a Y instead of an I. Capitalized like it’s a name. Don’t ask me, just tradition I guess. Anyway Vampyre with a Y, that’s the real deal. With an I, that’s for scaring babies.

I’m the kind that scares everyone.

So here we are. Emmet’s breaking his own rules again. One of the conditions I took on as a book reviewer was that I would not read the same author more than once. I definitely would not follow up on a series. Now I have cheated on this before – Michael Moorcock has featured more than once. But I am throwing caution to the wind with this one.

My Dead Body is the final book in Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt Casebook’s series. I reviewed the penultimate book a few months ago. When I saw the last Joe Pitt adventure on the library shelf, I could not stop myself from snapping it up.

Our Vampyre hero got into a spot of bother in the last book. For one he has burned his bridges with every clan leader and gang in Manhattan island’s supernatural underworld.  How he managed this impressive feat, apart from being overly fond of running his mouth off, was by discovering that the largest organised group of Vampyres, the Coalition, has a very ugly secret behind its inexhaustible stock of human blood. Rather than act on this information, he made sure everyone else found out and then walked into the sewers under the city to wait out the inevitable war.

Now an old friend has tracked him down, claiming to have been sent by the estranged love of his life Evie. He passes on a message from her, that he has to do something, take a stand in this conflict he set off between the clans. She also wants him to track down a young couple who have run away. His friend Chubby Freeze is the father of the girl, whose fascination with vampires led her to find one and wonder of wonders, they fell in love. In an added twist, she has become pregnant by her Vampyre lover.

Turns out rival Vampyre gangs the Coalition and the Society have decided this couple are too important to run free. A human/vampire hybrid represents a threat, as it could expose the secrecy they live beneath. It also offers an impossible future to the community, one that represents an incredible amount of power if a party were to control these two young people.

Then add the increasingly disturbing experiments of genius scientist Amanda Horde on the ‘Vyrus’ and you have a potential powderkeg of pent-up violence bubbling away. One entirely of Joe’s making.

Huston ably builds events to a gripping climax, referencing the events of the previous four books to show how much of this last book was seeded from the very beginning. One of the real pleasures of the series is Joe’s own no-bullshit attitude and the quick dialogue. For the sake of contrast, Huston has the pregnant vampire bride Delilah insist on roleplaying even in the midst of a massacre. Her dialogue is laugh out loud funny and possibly a dig at Stephenie Meyer/Anne Rice’s expense.

Joe Pitt suffers, a lot, in these books and in My Dead Body the amount of damage he goes through triples. This night riffs on noir fiction as a vampire protagonist can presumably suffer an even more ridiculous degree of suffering.  His sardonic narration acts as a counterpoint to the pain the character feels, letting the reader know that as extreme as this material might seem, it is meant to be entertaining.

I had a great time reading these books. Check out the Joe Pitt Casebooks for yourself.

I felt like I was trapped in one of those terrifying nightmares, the one where you have to run, run till your lungs burst, but you can’t make your body move fast enough. My legs seemed to move slower and slower as I fought my way through the callous crowd, but the hands on the huge clock tower didn’t slow. With relentless, uncaring force, they turned inexorably toward the end–the end of everything.

Lady, I hear ya.

It’s almost been a year since the events of the first book and Bella Swan’s birthday has come round. Turning eighteen only serves to remind her that she is growing older, while her vampire boyfriend Edward remains seventeen. And a high school senior! So things are already not proceeding that smoothly for the ‘teenage’ couple when they decide to celebrate Bella’s birthday at the Cullen family household. Then Edward’s adopted brother Jasper is sent into a frenzy at the sight of Bella’s blood caused by a small papercut. As this confirms the worst fears of Bella’s vampire swain, he decides to leave her and the town of Forks, taking his family with him to some unknown destination.

Abandoned by Edward, Bella falls into a deep depression, only surfacing when she reacquaints herself with Jacob Black, who still nurses a crush on her. She enjoys his company and so tries to insist that their relationship is simply a friendship. Jacob proves to be extremely persistent, taking her gentle refusals with good humour and puppy-dog eyes. Still she cannot forget her passionate obsession for Edward Cullen and even begins to experience hallucinations of his presence when her life is in danger. Eventually Jacob’s warmth and affection slowly wears away her resolve and she starts to think of a life without Edward. Until one day he simply cuts off all contact. Feeling lost and bewildered she wanders into the forests surrounding Forks, only to meet Laurent, a member of the vampire pack that had hunted her the previous year. He brings her a message from Victoria. They’re going to kill her and with the Cullens gone, there is no one to protect her. Bella’s fate seems sealed, but then a pack of werewolves arrive to defend her. One of them even looks familiar to her. Are there any boys in Forks that are not mythical monsters!

Are we sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin. Perhaps my description of the plot implies that this is an exciting tale of danger. Well, it’s not. Not be a long shot. There are upswings of excitement in the narrative, but they come few and far between. I hate all the male characters. I am sick of the endless descriptions of Edward’s perfection and in this book Jacob’s muscular frame also heaves into view. The only other things Meyer seems interested in are cars! There’s a major disjunct in the story after the Cullens leave, with the plot of the first book seeming to repeat itself when Bella discovers yet another clan of fantasy creatures living nearby. As for the main character, I dislike how what little description of Bella we get show her to be a clumsy clod, a ‘magnet for danger’ and completely unable to cope without a man in her life. The religious subtext of the books also bothers me. Worst of all, Bella’s rejection by Edward leaves her an automaton, focused on being a ‘good girl’ for her dad, cooking, cleaning and keeping her grades up. She never feels any anger towards the vampire, which usually helps when you’ve had your heart broken.

On the other hand… I don’t like these books, but lots of folks do, so who am I to throw the first stone? After all I just reviewed Brandon Sanderson purely to get a bead on how he would finish up the Wheel of Time series and they are terrible books. Maybe the kids reading Twilight will grow out of them and find Jodi Piccoult. Or if they’re fans of the beefcake, maybe they’ll discover Anais Nin? Also if the Volturi are a dig at the Church of Rome, well I’m not too bothered by that. Hell it reminded me of a Bill Hicks quote. So I guess live and let live is my conclusion. I’m tired of all the obnoxious complaining about Twifans, as it only led to this.

Furthermore…Team Alice? Oh Meyer, you cad!

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