Sorry. Ain’t felt much like blogging this past week. Been reading, and learning how to play the guitar. Which, as it turns out, takes more than a week. I know. The good news is that I’m finally getting my calluses into fighting shape. My finger tips feel weird though; whenever I touch something or type I feel this fuzzy static under their skin. Not uncomfortable, but strange.

I just finished reading John Steakley’s Vampires, the novel that John Carpenter’s Vampires was based on (very, very loosely), and enjoyed it tremendously. It’s all about kicking down doors and shooting crossbow bolts the size of baseball bats through screeching vampire chests. Team Crow romps around Texas, wiping out ‘pits’ of vampires, which becomes a war of attrition when the tables are turned and their heroic members begin to fall before their invincible seeming opponents. It’s loud, fun, brash, over the top and yet somehow the characters remain strangely touching, suffering their moments of doubt, fear and weakness for all their bravado and toughness. It can be summed up by Jack Crow’s war cry: “Rock ‘n roll!”

Before that I read Charlaine Harris’ big seller Dead Until Dark, and also enjoyed it. Absolutely different kind of vampire, story telling style, but very well done. Told from the POV of Sookie Stackhouse, it’s a homey, at times chilling tale of Southern folk in a small town who’s lives are disrupted by the arrival of a vampire who’s trying to go ‘mainstream’. Sookie and Bill the Vampire fall in love, which is unfortunate given the fact that there’s a serial killer on the loose who’s victims look like they’ve been done in… by a vampire. What makes this fun is Sookie’s voice, Charlaine’s ability to ground the supernatural in the quotidian, and the quick and suspenseful way it reads. I picked it up in order to get a good jolt of what it’s like to tell a story from the POV of a female character, and in that regard it was highly instructive.

Aaaand before that I read John Levitt’s Dog Days. This was pretty damned good too; Mason is a lazy magician who prefers to play gigs and keep a low profile than get involved with anything serious, until he’s dragged in over his head by nefarious events. What makes this book a solid read is the interesting and dynamic cast of characters that flesh out the San Francisco magic society; watching them interact and help each other out even as they bicker and snub each other is great, and grounds the novel. The villain was a bit 2 dimensional, but Levitt’s got a winning combination in Mason and Lou, his familiar/ifrit, and I can’t wait to read his second book when it comes out this December.