Someone has begun targeting vampires.
Vampire leaders of the thirteen Houses attribute the string of recent losses to over-zealous vampire hunters. Only Cicatrice, the most ancient and powerful vampire in the world, suspects that the semi-legendary Hunter of the Dead may be the real culprit.
Carter Price, a vampire hunter who despises the way his profession is becoming centralized and corporatized, begins to suspect the Hunter of the Dead is back, too – and no longer distinguishing between vampires and mortals. Against his better judgment, Price agrees to work with Cicatrice.
The uneasy allies attempt to uncover the truth about the Hunter, while a vampire civil war brews in the background. But perhaps most difficult of all, they must contend with their new apprentices, who seem to be falling in love with each other against every rule of man and monster…
The gloves are off!
Up to now, Kozeniewski’s books have been funny with a side order of gore but this one is just straight up gore with a side order of horror. People get their faces eaten off and children are being fed to ancient demons.
If I had to guess the biggest influence of this novel, I’d probably go with From Dusk Til Dawn. The vampires aren’t glittery and sexy and the hunters aren’t angsty and indestructible and there are Tarantino levels of ick in this book, so it’s a breath of fresh air on that count.
The story progresses at a fast pace, each chapter dedicated to a different character and perspective which is something I really enjoy – especially with immortal characters, you know you’re going to get some great flashbacks to add to the current story-line.
The Hunter of the Dead is an ancient legend come back to cull the undead in Vegas as their numbers have grown too high, the trouble is that he’s not really that picky about who he kills. This leads to a very uneasy truce between the vampires and the hunters before all hell breaks loose.
Could there be anywhere better for a vampire showdown than Las Vegas? I think not.
My favourite character has to be Idi-Han, the precocious baby vampire who’s sick of taking everyone’s shit. She’s finally in a position of power after a lifetime of being a pawn in everyone else’s game and she’s going to use it to make sure no one else can control her fate from now on, which is something I think we’d all do if we could make people’s heads explode with one hand.
What really makes this book stand out for me has to be the whole new level of gore, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so shamelessly horrifying before and it was AWESOME.
If real horror vamps and gritty vampire hunters are your thing, then you really can’t read this book soon enough.
‘”They really do make you take your brain out and put it in a jar, don’t they?”
“Hey! You were a jarhead, too!”
“I am a jarhead, honey. Once a jarhead, always a jarhead.”‘ ~ I won the game of ‘Find Stephen Kozeniewski’s reference to jars in his latest book’