This was borrowed from the library just before I finished Dream Songs. Jen and I were at the library for a reading by Ben Aaronovitch who was there as part of Sheffield’s Literature Festival — Off the Shelf. Jen spotted it and picked it up not knowing that I was in the middle of another of his books. It was a little uncanny actually.
I’d heard of this one, but it wasn’t on my ‘to read’ list. I’m glad I read it though. It’s little slow at times, and a bit overwhelmed by pretty description from time to time, but it goes down easy, and has two rock solid characters at its centre.
Abner Marsh is a paddle-wheel boat captain who has hit on hard times after a string of bad luck. He meets the mysterious Joshua York who will fund the construction of a beautiful large new boat if Abner will captain it for him, bringing him up and down the Mississippi asking no questions along the way.
It turns out that Joshua is a vampire type creature who has found a way to control his bloodthirsty ways. He’s travelling the river looking for other vampires so that he can show them what he’s done, leading to a new era of peace and prosperity as vampire and human are finally able to live together in joy and harmony.
Everything’s working out swell until they encounter an out and out evil vampire who throws a major spanner in the works. Cue lots of bloodshed, some of which is described in delightfully gory detail.
I was expecting something a bit cheesy in an Anne Rice vein (no pun intended), but the context – the world of Mississippi river boats – gives him great scope to create an entirely fresh tale.
Short, but satisfying.