Set in prohibition America, around the start of WW1, this vampire novel has all the horror, tension, gore, and folklore lovers of the genre will desire from a story. But it has much more than these expected elements.
We follow Ruby, somewhat of an enigma that, to avoid spoilers, I won’t explain, and the reluctant doctor, Jack, as they develop an uneasy but potentially good relationship. Florence and Henry, their friends and partners in the dangerous adventure of discovery they all undertake, perform what initially seems the romantic role in the story. But not all is as it appears, of course.
The American Civil War lurks beneath this tale of corruption, hunger, death, and the quest for power, giving background and history for certain character traits and attitudes. There is also some insightful reference to the lasting racism stemming from those times. Naturally, the production and distribution of bootleg liquor plays a prominent role, with all the concomitant gangster action.
Meghan has clearly dived deep into her research for this book, producing an utterly credible picture of the period and referencing the folklore relating to her legendary monsters and their victims. And the resulting fast-moving tale, with its detail and sudden surprising, often shocking, incidents, entertains and engages the reader throughout the emotional roller-coaster journey.
Her characters are fully formed and relatable, even the evil ones, and it is they, rather than mere plot, that drive the story. While the story is exciting, filled with tension, and fast-paced adventure, the novel is also an insightful study of people and their relationships, especially as they develop in a pressured situation.
Lovers of the genre will drink their fill of blood in this gluttonous tale, and the general reader will be entertained, informed, and surprised along the fascinating and thrilling route to the inevitable finale.
[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]