‘Every Last Drop’ by Charlie Huston is the 4th instalment of the Joe Pitt Vampire Noir novels and is it the book that jumps the undead shark? The book opens with Joe having been exiled from Manhattan Island after the events of the previous novel, but it does not take him long to get down to his old tricks of upsetting people again. The Joe Pitt novels always stood out due to the great world building of Huston. He created a New York full of competing vampire factions, but by book 4 things are getting a little confused.
The entire novel feels like filler. In it Joe basically walks around Manhattan being accosted by characters from previous novels, being told they are going to kill him and then they don’t kill his. The turnover of incidents is just too fast. It is not helped by Huston’s continued none use of speech marks. Paragraphs start in a new location and it takes you several sentences to get your head around who is talking. Huston relies on you knowing the characteristics of the characters to understand who is who, but there are so many now it is also most impossible.
The lack of traditional speech marks always annoys me when it crops up in my reading. There is a “reason for them”, Sam said. “It allows you to know who is talking,” replied the sinister vampire bloke who could have been anyone. By not adding this basic function of the written language Huston has taken a rather bland book that is all road movie and no destination and also managed to make it a confusing read. There is hope for Book 5 to pick things up again and return the series to excellence as the entirety of Book 4 felt like a convoluted prologue for it. Foundations are laid for an epic finale, but no one wants to read a book about pouring the cement.