Mark Hansen thought working as artist’s assistant would be glamorous,
especially if that artist was a vampire. Black tie events, witty repartee,
gracing the pages of the local style section. Didn’t happen. Not even
Jonathan Varga is an enigma. True, he’s quiet, generous, and scrupulously
polite. But he has zero social life, refuses to be interviewed or
photographed, and insists he can only consume feline blood.
Why supermarket blood won’t suffice, Mark hasn’t asked. He’s rarely at a
loss for words – he can dish an insult and follow it with a snap as quick
as you can say “Miss Thang.” But one look at Jonathan’s black-as-sin gypsy
eyes, and Mark’s objections drain away.
So he endures the perpetual grind of their routine: Jonathan hiding in his
studio, swiping black paint onto black canvases. Mark hurling insults
while he buffs the office to a shine with antiviral wipes. Each of them
avoiding the other in a careful choreography…until a blurb in Art in
America unleashes a chain of harrowing events neither of them could
As secrets from Jonathan’s past are brought to light, it becomes clear
that all his precautions weren’t nearly enough.
I’ve read many of Jordan Castillo Price’s novels and they’ve never failed
to thrill and this is no exception.
I love that this doesn’t follow the predictable conventions, with a middle
aged and not gorgeous protagonist. He’s very human and all the more
appealing because of it.
The world building is fascinating with a unique take on vampirism as a
blood born virus. It has a high mortality rate, but if you survive you
look like a Michaelangelo sculpture for eternity as well as drinking
blood. I love the vampire culture that’s built up throughout the book.
With vampire soap operas and mention of an influential vampire movie
starring Demi Moore and John Travolta released years back, you can see how
the vampire virus not only changed the world but created a subculture that
is both foreign and familiar.
There is a strong subtext of vampire’s treatment in society comparable to
how HIV+ people are treated with fear and prejudice. Moments where our
vampire hero Jonathon tries to pass as “V negative” resonated with me with
how LGBT people also sometimes have to pass as straight for their own
Our protagonist Mark has been Jonathon’s personal assistant for years,
crushing on the reclusive eccentric vampire artist seemingly without hope.
When a murderous vampire ex lover from Jonathon’s past goes on a
destructive cross country rampage the two men go on the run. The truth of
Jonathon’s past and his feelings for Mark are revealed.
5 of 5 stars
Copy Purchased for Review