Bite Me: Big Easy Nights by Marion G. Harmon
Technically, this is actually the third book from Marion G. Harmon’s “Wearing the Cape” series, but it takes place between the first book (previously reviewed) and the second (not reviewed yet), so it’s not out of place here. Besides, it’s just two weeks ’til Halloween, and the whole book is jammed full of vampires. So let’s hit it.
Set in New Orleans during Mardi Gras — a long, long way from the superhero-filled Chicago where the first novel is set — we’re completely focused on Jacky Bouchard, reluctant vampire and the equally reluctant superhero Artemis. She’s in town to meet the grandmother she never knew she had — she’s apparently the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, and she’s pretty handy to have around — and she’s also doing some freelance work for the police, keeping an eye on the local vampires. See, there are a lot of vamps in N’Awlins, mostly because of Anne Rice — when someone who’s obsessed with romantic vampires has their metahuman breakthrough, they’ll often kick the bucket and rise from the dead as a vampire. And once they do, they usually head for New Orleans.
They’re even fairly accepted within the city. As long as they don’t kill people and limit their feeding to willing victims (and there are a lot of vampire fans in New Orleans eager to get snacked on), the police usually leave them alone. The cops don’t even have to worry about a vampire plague — in the “Wearing the Cape” universe, vampires aren’t able to turn their victims into vampires. However, Jacky herself owes her own undead resurrection to one of the exceptions to that rule, who was able to kill her and turn her with his own powers — and there are indications that another of those rare exceptions may be trying to build his own vampire army, which leaves Jacky with some serious problems on her hands, especially when she gets targeted for assassination by both vampires and humans.
Can Jacky track down the master vampire, survive the cutthroat vampire politics of New Orleans, redeem a fellow vampire, and keep her police contact (who has powers of his own) and her grandmother safe from harm, all without getting a stake through the chest or her head lopped off her shoulders?
Verdict: Thumbs up. This was a really fun book, like the other “Wearing the Cape” books (and I’ll eventually get around the reviewing the third novel, too), with excellent characters, fun dialogue, excellent action, settings, and mood, and a fast-moving plot. Half the fun of this one is Jacky’s down-to-earth reactions to the general craziness of her surroundings, particularly the fashion-obsessed vampires she has to blend in with. She’s a bit too hard-edged to fit in particularly well with the superhero crowd, and she doesn’t fit in well with the vampires because… well, she just doesn’t like vampires very much.
It’s a good, fast read. I had a seriously busy week — couple of weeks, really — and worried it’d take me a month to find enough time to finish this. But the story and characters grab you and draw you in quickly — I ended up taking extra time away from other duties just to spend more time reading. It was colossal fun, and, while it may not be a perfect Halloween book (you’d have a hard time bumping books by Ray Bradbury or M.R. James out of that spot), it still makes for a great late-October read.
“Bite Me: Big Easy Nights” is available for the Kindle. Go pick it up.