Saturday, April 18, 2009

NO DOMINION by Charlie Huston

No Dominion is Charlie Huston's second novel to feature vampire tough guy Joe Pitt, and in it we find Pitt a little down on his luck. He got on the wrong side of the largest Vampyre Clan on Manhattan—The Coalition—when he shut down one of their most profitable operations, and without them giving him the odd job Pitt has a difficult time making a living. He’s down to three pints of blood—well below his desired minimum—and he doesn’t have the money to pay his rent this month.

That's when Pitt gets a call from an old buddy. Terry is the leader of The Society, and the vampire who took Joe under his wing shortly after he had been turned, and they have a long history. Pitt was Terry’s strong-arm man for several years, and now Joe lives on Society territory at Terry's goodwill.

Terry wants Joe to look into something troubling in vampire land—the younger vampires are using a new drug that may have dire implications on not only The Society, but also the entire vampire population of Manhattan. This is where the story begins, but it doesn’t end until Joe travels the length of the Island through enemy territory, risks his life more than once and finds betrayal behind every helpful hand.

No Dominion is not your mother's vampire story. Joe Pitt is more Mike Hammer than Lestat, and it works very, very well. The underbelly of Manhattan is painted in broad, vibrant strokes and seemingly comes alive with stark description and hard action. Charlie Huston is a crime writer, and he writes with an old style—it feels like an old noir story filled with grimy streets and dives and working stiffs who can’t catch a break. It is all this, but No Dominion is also a vampire story, and a damn good one.

My only gripe, and it really isn't much of one, is it took Huston about 50-pages to really get the story moving. The opening was spent setting up the action to come, and a few times, I wanted just a little less explanation about Vampyre politics, and a little more action. But once Huston let the engine off idle, No Dominion jammed and I was sorry to find the last page

This is another reprint. It went live at SFReader 27-June-2007.

1 comment:

RJR said...

My gripe on Huston's work, and it DOESkeep me from reading him, is that he has no quotes around his dialogue. In find it too distracting.