Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Werewolf Smackdown, (EOS Fantasy), by Mario Acevedo

In the current glut of urban fantasy/noir/hardboiled crime, it's hard to tell what's worth reading. On top, of course, are names such as Jim Butcher, Tim Waggoner, Simon Green and others, but dozens of "mythic" knock-offs abound, some of them quality reading, the rest better left alone. One standout is Mario Acevedo's vampire detective, Felix Gomez, who returns to action in "Werewolf Smackdown".

Felix Gomez has been drawn into a war that's not his own but threatens not only vampire-kind, but scores of supernatural beings and humans, also. A death has left a power vacuum in the werewolf hierarchy of Charleston, South Carolina. Two rival families stand ready to wage civil war. When Felix discovers that an alpha werewolf wants to hire him for an assassination, he turns the gig down quick...but not quickly enough, apparently, as two vampire thugs try to take him out soon after.

Now, what looked like a simple job offer has turned into a tangle of lies, deceit, and mystery. Worse, as Felix digs deeper - instead of blowing town, which common sense dictates - he realizes that an old, deadly foe thought long dead might be pulling the strings. Worse, this foe cares nothing for the "Great Secret", an ancient pact made to shield the supernatural world from the human one. The goal: werewolf Armageddon, to blow the lid off the Secret, which would put everyone - human and supernatural - in danger.

Many writers have tried to emulate the charisma of Butcher's wildly popular character Harry Dresden; Acevedo is one of the few who very well may have succeeded. Gomez isn't a "vampire Harry Dresden", but he strikes the same world-weary tone of the classic gumshoe detective, only in this case his world consists of immortality, aversion to sunlight, and feeding off the living. Like Dresden, a detective who just happens to be a wizard, Gomez just happens to have been turned into a vampire. That speaks of a character stronger than just its genre trappings, which makes Acevedo a writer stronger than his chosen genre.

Visit www.marioacevedo.com. Buy it today.

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