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    Review of X-RATED BLOOD SUCKERS by Mario Acevedo (see his website)

    Rayo, February 2007

    Private detective Felix Gomez isn't much interested in the death of a porn star until his potential client, Katz Meox, mentions the word 'vampire.' Mortal humans aren't supposed to know that vampires exist--that Katz knows means that something has gone very wrong in Los Angeles. Of course a hundred-thousand dollar fee isn't bad as far as incentives go, either, even for a vampire-detective like Gomez. He heads from his home in Denver to Los Angeles and the San Frenando Valley, home of the porn industry.

    In Los Angeles, Gomez makes contact with the head of the local Vampires and soon discovers that things are worse than he imagined. The LA vampires are actively working toward some kind of power-sharing with humans. Gomez knows too well what that will mean--individual vampires may be powerful, but their only real safety comes from human certainty that they don't exist. Still, the murder proves harder to solve--there are plenty of people with motives to have killed Roxy Bronze, but Gomez's nearly infailable ability to hypnotize mortals and get them to tell the truth doesn't unveil the killer the way he thought it would. And when he won't cut a deal with the local vampire leader, Gomez finds he's on the run from vampires, silver-bullet-armed cops, and a woman who almost convinces him that vampires can seek real love.

    Author Mario Acevedo (see more reviews of novels by Acevedo) creates a charming mix of the hard-boiled detective story with modern urban fantasy. Gomez is an interesting and conflicted character, still damaged from his actions in Iraq, cynical about both mortal humans and his undead counterparts, and uncertain whether a vampire has a chance at love. The Chinatown world of Los Angeles and the porn industry add texture to the story, as does Gomez's hispanic background and Acevedo's use of Spanish in his story. Sidekick Coyote is an especially interesting character--with his weakness for rat chorizo and cheap booze.

    X-RATED BLOOD SUCKERS has plenty of funny moments, but it it's a lot darker than the title indicates. Gomez's world is dark, and there really aren't good answers--with murder being the bad answer found most often. I did think that Gomez was just a little too capable. Good against humans is easy for a vampire, but Gomez seemed a bit too good against other vampires as well.

    Whether you're looking for an innovative urban fantasy, or a mystery reader interested in expanding your horizons, X-RATED BLOOD SUCKERS has a lot going for it. I'm happy to recommend this story.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 4/14/07

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