Whereas Lost Souls? represented a fresh take on the (by now) anemic vampire genre, Drawing Blood (something of a sequel) adds nothing new to Brite's canon. It has the feel of contractual obligation. The main action takes place in Missing Mile (though the inevitable New Orleans crops up), using characters and locations linking to the earlier book. Unfortunately, well defined and interesting characters such as Mollochai, Zillah, Twig, Steve and Ghost are sorely missed. The two male protagonists, Zach and Trevor (how can anyone call one of their heroes Trevor?!) fail to elicit any real interest or sympathy, and even the fairly explicit sexual acts fail to sustain any conviction. Brite also seems poor in her characterizations of women (Eddy is superficially delineated though key to the denouement). Is she capable of writing heterosexual erotica? The shock-horror elements and psylocibin trip are well done however and Poppy Z is in clearly in her element here.
Brite's prose, wonderfully lucid, original and atmospheric in Lost Souls? here takes on an overblown and purple hue. The use of the author's voice becomes quite intrusive and she never seems to let her characters speak for themselves. The description of hacker culture is impossibly dated and laughable; and the references to Lucio Fulci, ganja, Jazz, cartoon culture etc. are impoverished attempts to be hip. The attempts to penetrate various subcultures are superficial and unconvincing. The book is too derivative and overlong to be really enjoyable - a bit of editorial liposuction would have improved the flow and readability. Brite's legion of fans will no doubt disagree, but there's little here to hold one's attention. Lost Souls? and Exquisite Corpse are more enjoyable, more original, and have moments of genuinely disturbing horror, whilst exploring male love and sexuality, and its potential connection with violence, more effectively.