It’s no secret that M. Christian and I are friends. I’ve introduced one of his books and we’ve guest blogged for each other too. So even if I’m not the most unbiased critic, I still like to highlight interesting books I read from time to time even if they are by friends of mine.
One of Chris’ many recurring themes are alternate visions of the police. One of the characters in his wonderfully weird novel near-future novel Finger’s Breadth is a freelance officer who receives his orders and files reports via a distributed police ap on his smartphone. “Bluebelle” in The Bachelor Machine explores a future cop’s intimate relationship with his police vehicle, and Christian even co-edited the anthology Future Cops.
The most recent book I read by him is The Very Bloody Marys. Like Finger’s Breadth, it takes place in an alternate San Francisco but creatures of the night. Our hero is Valentino, a young gay vampire so uncertain of his place in the world that he can’t even decide how to start telling his story at the beginning of the book, so he begins again 2 or 3 times. Somehow, despite his Lestat-like confidence or prowess, he’s been selected to join an undead police force charged with maintaining the secrecy of the undead and the weird. Here, Valentino laments his own impending doom after his superior officer disappears:
Two hundred years. It’d been a good run. Lots of … well, there’d been blood of course. Moons. Stars. Rain. Fog. Hiding, too: all-night movie theaters, bars, discos, stables, warehouses, churches, a few synagogues (even a mosque or two) [...] Lots of … I was going to say friends but, to be honest, the nightlife might be advantageous to boogying but doesn’t make for long-term relationships. Some back-alley assignations, sticky stuff in my mouth or pants; not blood, or at least not up until a few years ago.
Two hundred sure sounds like a lot, but … the time just seemed to have hopped, skipped and jumped by. Never skied, never sailed, never surfed, never had two guys at once [...] What surprised me the most, though, was what I wanted more: orchids, bow ties, potato salad, string, oil or watercolor, hooks and line, two of everything.
The book has a breezy, playful noir style which would make it perfect summer reading. Though it doesn’t have the usual romance (though it has a handful of interesting unrequited ones), I found it especially interesting as a queer take on the torrid vampires-and-werewolves subgenre of urban fantasy.