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Stalking the Vampire
Mike Resnick
Pyr, 268 pages

Stalking the Vampire
Mike Resnick
Mike Resnick sold his first book in 1962 and went on to sell more than 200 novels, 300 short stories and 2,000 articles, almost all of them under pseudonyms. He turned to SF with the sale of The Soul Eater, his first under his own name. Since 1989, Mike has won Hugo Awards (for Kirinyaga; The Manamouki; Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge; The 43 Antarean Dynasties; Travels With My Cats) and a Nebula Award (for Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge).

Mike Resnick Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Stalking the Unicorn
SF Site Review: Starship: Pirate
SF Site Review: Starship: Mutiny
SF Site Review: Dragon America
SF Site Review: Men Writing Science Fiction As Women, Women Writing Science Fiction As Men and New Voices in Science Fiction
SF Site Review: A Hunger in the Soul

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Tammy Moore

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In the second Fable of Tonight series John Justin Mallory is still living in the alternate Manhattan. It has been nearly a year since the events in Stalking the Unicorn and things are looking up for John Justin. He still doesn't have his Velma, but he does have a loyal partner in Colonel Winifred Carruthers, a thriving detective agency, an office cat-person and a magic mirror. There's not much more a Manhattan gumshoe could ask for.

Except that it's All Hallow's Eve, the biggest holiday in the other Manhattan and the night that all the ghosts and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night come out to play. (Other than the goblins who, holiday or no, are still trying to sell torpid guard-snakes and over-sexed goblin girls.) And, unfortunately for John Justin's holiday plans, one of the ghoulies turns out to be Winifred's nephew Rupert. He was bitten by a vampire during his recent cruise from Europe and, although not fully turned yet, he has been snacking on his aunt in his sleep.

Determined to rescue Rupert from his fate, Winifred and John Justin set out to find the vampire who'd attacked him, a dark, ominous figure known as Draconis. The search for answers takes our detectives from one side of Manhattan to the other, to the Museum of Unnatural History, Madison Round Gardens and even back to the Kringleman Arms. John Justin also enlists the help of a ragtag cast of characters: Bats McGuire, the timid, unemployed vampire, Scaly Jim Chandler, the unsuccessful draconic mystery writer and Odd John, whose mother was scared by a Picasso painting. A good thing too since he's going to need all the help he can get if he's to track down who bit Rupert before daybreak; the imposing Draconis is only the tip of the iceberg.

Stalking the Vampire is another enjoyable visit to other Manhattan by author Mike Resnick and manages to get the blend of new material and a return of old favourites right. It's certainly a good read and many of the parodic touches were handled with the deft touch of a master. My favourites are where Mary, Queen of Slots is describing the primary antagonist after he has eaten -- "some of the wrinkles smooth out" -- and the romantic misunderstanding of the purple nasturtiums.

Stalking the Vampire does suffer in comparison to Stalking the Unicorn, though. The primary problem is the pacing. Any plot that depends on a deadline needs to be fast paced in order to convince the reader that time is of the essence. In Stalking the Unicorn it worked; John Justin needed to solve the case before dawn, otherwise his employer would be killed and the Grundy would become all powerful. In Stalking the Vampire, both his motivation and the urgency of events are less convincing. There's no immediate threat to John Justin or his allies from the antagonist and John Justin didn't even know Rupert, so revenge is an unconvincing motive. The only member of the group with a personal animus against the antagonist was Winifred and she had limited screen-time compared to the others. As a result it just didn't have the feel of a "race against the clock" narrative.

The repetitive nature of John Justin's interactions with Felina also palled after a bit; although the interactions in themselves worked there were just too many of them.

Nevertheless it was still a good book with many enjoyable elements. Readers who enjoyed Stalking the Unicorn should enjoy Stalking the Vampire too, just not quite as much.

Copyright © 2008 Tammy Moore

Tammy Moore is a speculative fiction writer based in Belfast. She writes reviews for Verbal Magazine, Crime Scene NI and Green Man Review. Her first book The Even -- written by Tammy Moore and illustrated by Stephanie Law -- is to be published by Morrigan Books September 2008.


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