Honesty from the outset~
I like stories which are a bit out of the ordinary bordering on quirky.The Very Bloody Marys is definitely that. I mean seriously 'a marauding gang of Vespa-riding vampires'?!? You gotta love that concept.
First things first~
This book is written in the first person from the point of view of the main character, Valentino. As I've said before this is a POV that I have mixed feelings about. In this instance, however, it worked for me for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that the author gave Valentino a conversational voice; very much like he was sitting down next to you recounting his day (or night in this case), which I immediately connected with. The second was my affinity with Valentino himself, who is pretty much a sarcastic smart-arse with a significant dash of loser. Needless to say that I could sooo relate. *g*
Let me give you all a taste:It was one of those awful San Francisco nights: a heartbreaker wrapped up in a smothering fog smelling like diesel oil leaking from a busted-up truck, the streets all reflective with the tears of a thousand broken hearts, and the bloated bodies of all those leaping lovers floating up from the icy darkness of the bay…
Nah, too much of a downer. Besides, Hammett and Chandler - or at least the fifty million trench-coated, alcoholic, chain-smoking Bogarts who worshipped them - would have my balls on an outrageously baroque platter.
This is the city. Half a million people trying to carve out their own piece of the American pie, serve it up on affordable china purchased on credit from a moderately upscale chain store to their 2.5 kids, spicing it up every once in a while with a clumsy fondle of the babysitter or the tennis coach. It’s not a bad city, as cities go, full of pretty good, fairly decent people who usually play by the rules. But when they don’t that’s where I come in. My name is Valentino.Yes, it's cheesy and littered with cliches and puns. Yet, for me, it was successful because of the fact that the author is unapologetic in his play/use of language and has his tongue firmly trapped in his cheek. Think noir and you'll be on the right track.
The story also appealed to me because Valentino is very definitely a reluctant hero, which is a character I adore... when it works. It very much does in the case of The Very Bloody Marys and as the story progresses our hero grows too, but remains 'human', faults and all.
A couple of issues/warnings~
Some may, as I did, find the story slow going at the start. Whilst I understood the author was providing the reader with an understanding of Valentino's character prior to the main events, I found the 'inner dialogue' a little too much to begin with.
I also got the impression in the first few pages of the book that Valentino is retelling his story to us/the reader. I personally didn't think this followed through for the rest of the book. This didn't bother me because I much preferred the story the way it ended up being told. It's just something that could, I think, be easily dealt with whenever there is an opportunity to in the future. (That is if, of course, I'm right. :) )
This is not a romance in the hot sex, HFN, etc kind of way. There are elements of romance, although not what many will expect or want. *zipping mouth* Not saying any more for fear of spoilers.
The 'marauding gang of Vespa-riding vampires' only have a few appearances, which I was a little disappointed about. Still, you couldn't ask for a more unique catalyst.
This is not a book that will appeal to all. It is for those intrigued or interested in noir, which has dark humour and a supernatural twist - and I do mean twist because it IS a crime/mystery and is meant to keep the reader guessing - and that it does! *g*