I'm not sure why I picked up this book. I usually avoid series books like the plague. I guess seeing it was a horror novel by a first time writer (reading his bio above, looks like I was wrong) helped me overcome my doubts (and the super-pulpy cover promised lots of fun).
Anyhow, I'm glad I picked up the book. The Skinners series is action/horror, very similar to Blade or Underworld. There's not a lot of real originality in Blood Blade, but the book is entertaining nonetheless.
In an opening that is very reminiscent of Algernon Blackwood's The Wendigo, video game designer Cole Warnecki decides to take a vacation in the Canadian wilderness when he and his party are attacked by a gigantic creature.
This leads him to a loosely organized group called The Skinners who secretly protect 'the normal world' from vampires, werewolves and assorted supernatural beasties.
While there's nothing especially new here, Marcus Pelegrimas is a very good pulp writer. The book flowed right along, never dragging and not taking itself too seriously. There is a good dose of humor here. At times the book is very funny, though never so slapstick that it hurts the story.
He has a good ear for dialogue which is believable (well, in a T.V. show kind of way) and snappy. Most of the characters are pretty flat, with no real depth or history being given for any of them, but Cole is at least sketched out enough that you can empathize with him. Hopefully the other characters will gain a little more background/motivation in future books.
I do think the author needs to work on his action scenes. It's important that they be well written in a book like this, but I thought that in this book the description of the action was kind of muddy. Also, he never actually described what Cole looked like. I just assumed that he looked like the guy on the cover, but it did bug me as I read the book.
I hope in future books he goes into a little more explanation of how the Skinners work as an organization. It all seemed very vague and chaotic here, though since Cole is sort of brought in while he was under fire, that may have been intentional.
I do have to give Marcus Pelegrimas credit for crafting a unique spin on vampires.
So there's not a lot that's new here, but I did enjoy the book enough to keep reading the series. While it isn't a whole lot more than a distillation of a bunch of stuff we've seen before, the personality of the writing makes it worth a read.