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Book Title: The Vampire Files, Volume One|
Date of issue: October 1st 2003
ISBN 13: 9781101568033
The author of the book: P.N. Elrod
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 31.40 MB
Edition: Ace Books
Read full description of the books The Vampire Files, Volume One:Jack Fleming was a journalist, who’s just been killed by a Chicago crime boss who was looking for a list. A list of important people, and the bad things they’ve been doing. A list that Jack Fleming refused to divulge the location of, earning him a few days worth of beatings, and a watery grave at the bottom of a lake.
Except Jack’s not dead. Thanks to the actions of his former vampire lover, Maureen, Jack is now newly UNdead. And with a score to settle. Teaming up with ex-thespian-turned-detective Charles Escott, Jack first deals with a few of Chicago’s notorious mobsters, before turning his efforts to finding Maureen, who left under mysterious circumstances five years ago, and hasn’t been seen since. In between sleuthing and fighting, Jack works on figuring out what he is, as well as trying to get a handle on his new powers, and his new limitations.
“The Vampire Files” is a collection of the first three books of the Jack Fleming, Vampire P.I. series: Bloodlist, Lifeblood, and Bloodcircle. After reading the first three books, I’ll admit to being surprised that as of the date of this review, this collection has a 3.93 star average rating on Goodreads. The main reason being because Jack Fleming has got to be, hands down, one of THE MOST boring vampires ever dreamed into being.
1. As a vampire, Jack becomes virtually indestructible, acquires inhuman strength, incredible speed, the ability to mesmerize people, and the ability to move through solid objects as a sort of floating mist. The strength and speed rarely make an appearance. The ability to mesmerize initially freaks Jack out, so he refrains from using it until the third book where he gets a bit of mileage out of it. But for the majority of the three books, the only supernatural ability our vampire protagonist seems to want to exercise, is his ability to float around, and move through walls. Which he does an inordinately large, boring amount of. HOLD ONTO YOUR SEATS FOLKS, HE’S GOING INTO FOG MODE.
2. Jack Fleming’s character is the quintessential Joe Everyman. Other than, you know, being a vampire, he’s got literally nothing that sets him apart, that defines him as a specific person. His speech is bland, his mannerisms non-existent. He’s about as milquetoast and generic as you can be, and not be a cardboard cutout. He doesn’t display anything even approaching real anger, or passion, or sadness, really. Even Escott, his partner, has distinguishing speech rhythms and mannerisms. But good old Jack is like one of those photos that comes with the picture frames in the store. EXCEPT WHEN HE TURNS INTO A MIST OF COURSE. THEN EVERYONE KNOWS THAT JACK FLEMING IS IN TOWN. OR, YOU KNOW, THERE’S A LOT OF CONDENSATION IN THE AIR.
3. Why in the hell does Jack know next to nothing about being a vampire? He and Maureen did...something…while they were together, in the hopes that if he did die, he’d be able to rise again, a feat that only a very few people are able to accomplish. (The “something” they do is never described.) But after he rises, Jack’s intel on his new state of being is spotty at best. He knows he can’t cross running water without difficulty, and he knows that he needs dirt from his “home ground” in order to regain strength as he sleeps through the day. But other than that, he appears to be solidly in the dark. He has no idea how to control his ability to mesmerize people, or how often he has to drink blood, or even tips on how to navigate the outside world considering that he can’t be seen in any reflective surface, like a mirror. While this lack of understanding provides easy tension fodder for the story, from a realistic viewpoint, it makes very little sense. APPARENTLY TURNING INTO A MIST IS INHERENT KNOWLEDGE FOR SOME PEOPLE.
4. Speaking of drinking blood…I’ve never read a vampire story anywhere that treats this main tenant of vampirism with such casual indifference. Outside of a few twinges when he goes too long without feeding, and a scene where Escott gives some of his blood voluntarily so that Jack can heal, the drinking of blood is a non-event. Jack doesn’t even need to drink blood every night, but can go for 3-4 days before he starts getting any hunger pains. The only time we get within shouting distance of the passion / lust that blood seems to incite in every vampire in the literary world EXCEPT Jack, is when he and Bobbi are in bed together. But even then, the experience is treated with a sort of subdued intensity, and not with any urgent beating passion that could otherwise grip the reader. THAT JACK FLEMING, HE’S GOT AN ICY MIST IN HIS VEINS.
5. Similarly, Jack doesn’t seem to have any sort of innate warning system that lets him know when sunrise is coming, even though, again, every vampire in the literary landscape seems to have this survival trait. This, along with the lack of urgency around the blood-drinking, really diminish the character of Jack Fleming because it robs the story of any real tension that could otherwise be associated with these limitations. Instead of a blood-lusting vampire fighting his instinct to tear the throat out of an innocent bystander to sake his mad thirst, you have a mildly discomforted Jack, who idly reminds himself that perhaps he should make an effort to swing by the stockyards tomorrow evening for a nip, before that twinge in his belly becomes too urgent. IT’S OKAY JACK, MISTS DON’T HAVE BELLIES.
6. Can someone please explain to me what this is supposed to mean? ”He was looking down at the heels for all the dough he claimed to be holding and had the calm demeanor of a chain-smoker who’d just run out of cigs.” Now, I don’t know about you folks, but I’ve seen a chain-smoker run out of cigarettes, and there are a specific set of words I’d use to describe their demeanor. “Psychotic?” Yes. “Tense?” Definitely. “Fucko bazoo?” Indubitably. “Calm?” Not so much. There’s a slim handful of sentences like this scattered throughout the books, and their contradictory images make me wonder whether or not they’re typos. “HIS ANGER WAS AS DRY AS AN EVENING MIST.” OH MAN, THAT REALLY NAILS THE FEEL OF THIS SCENE.
7. Jack spends a lot of time NOT using his abilities, mostly when he’s in situations where using his abilities would not only be an act of common sense, but also a logical, and just an overall damn good idea. I don’t know how many times Jack could have taken care of business, but for whatever reason doesn’t, the end result being that he gets the shit beat out of him. Seriously. I’m hard pressed to name more than a couple NON-supernatural protagonists who take the number of beatings that Jack does. Again—why have your main character be a vampire if you’re not going to take advantage of all the perks that come with that particular being? EXCEPT THE ABILITY TO TURN INTO A MIST. YOU SIR, HAVE USED THE SHIT OUT OF THE VAMPIRIC ABILITY TO TURN INTO A MIST.
In short, I found “The Vampire Files” to be a bland, passionless read, with the most generic protagonist to ever sport the elongated canines. Also, in case I wasn’t obvious enough about it, the fact that the only ability Jack seems to want to exercise from his supernatural toolkit, IS THE ABILITY TO MIST THROUGH WALLS, bugs the almighty crap out of me, and I will not be reading any more books from this series.
Read information about the authorPatricia Nead Elrod is an American fantasy writer specializing in novels about vampires. Her work falls into areas of fantasy and (in some cases) mystery or historical fiction, but normally not horror, since her vampires are the heroes. -Wikipedia
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