- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Forge (Nov 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765304414
- ISBN-13: 978-0765304414
- Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.6 x 2.9 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,954,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In 1945, Lee Nez, a New Mexico State Policeman of Navajo extraction and his partner come upon a gang of German spies led by a Nazi vampire attacking a military convoy carrying plutonium for the Manhattan Project. Everyone but Nez and the vampire are killed in the ensuing firefight. Nez manages to hide the plutonium before the German vampire turns him into a vampire. Nez goes to a Navajo healer living conveniently nearby and is partially cured of his vampirism. "partially" means he is less strong than a full-blown vampire, but can survive in daylight with a good coat of sunblock. The healer warns him to watch out for skinwalkers -- Navajo shapeshifters -- because they can smell vampires and covet their immortality. So much for prologue.
55 years later, Nez has rejoined the New Mexico State Police in the four corners area as Leonard Hawk. He apparently spent the intervening years exterminating skinwalkers and the odd vampire. He learns that the German vampire has returned, posing as a German airforce pilot in order to recover the plutonium Nez hid for Iraqi terrorists. Lee Hawk's inquiry about the German pilot brings him to the attention of a beautiful, spunky FBI agent. She becomes his ally after they are attacked at his apartment by a pack of skinwalkers in wolf form.
The story ought to be riviting, but it clanks along like the caterpiller tractor that figures in the anticlimactic denouement.
The authors cannot resist hopping on every new bandwagon that goes by, unfortunately they forget to get off the old bandwagons. Therefore, in this book we have a female FBI agent out to avenge her dead partner, skinwalkers (sort of Navaho Werewolves), German vampires, and a Navaho vampire state cop also out to avenge his dead partner (who was killed in 1945). All of the characters are one dimensional at best.
The skinwalkers are inherently evil and hunt vampires for no discernable purpose except the authors needed some action to propel the story to its next stage. The German vampires are equally purposeless except they want to get their hands on a case that might (no one really knows for sure) contain uranium or plutonium or something radioactive-- so much of this book is just two characters who have no facts engaging in fruitless speculation.
Let's not forget the writing. There is a lot of telling and not showing with strange moments of exposition that make me think that the authors had suddenly thought of something they should have mentioned earlier, so they jam it into the conversation whether it feels natural-- if any of the conversation in this book seems natural-- or not.
I think I should say something positive about the book, though. The dust jacket on the hard cover is rather clever and unusual. Shame it couldn't be on a better book.
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