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Steakley's other major book, Armour, was always one of my favorites for it's gritty, relentless depiction of a man fighting his own terror as he fights an unknowable enemy.
Vampire$ is almost two different books. For the first half, you have again this incredible relentlessness of enemy matched by a pace of action and writing that is just as relentless. The second half shifts character focus and is just as brutal but not as relentlessly active -- more classic vampire in and less reminiscent of Armour. I don't want to give the end away, other than to say I was about 80% suckered by it (in a good way). That too, reminded me of Armour.
One thing I realized when I take this book together with what I remember from Armour -- is that that Mr. Steakley understands the fear a man feels when he fights his way through doing what he must no matter how much his brain screams that he should panic and run. I didn't understand that as well back when I read Armour, but I've since become a firefighter and I recognize that feeling (multiplied a thousand fold by Mr. Steakley in his books).
1. Thank you, Mr. Steakley, for giving us back brutal vampires that are truly evil -- a relief after the Laural K. Hamilton and Stephenie Meyer teenage softporn style.
2. All the good stuff you remember from Armour. The brutally relentless battles and the understanding of fear in a much more real and immediate way than even Stephen King can claim.
3. My one criticism is that I think this was two, or maybe three different books -- each an attempt to take on the genre from a different angle, that were merged to make a single novel. It was done fairly well, but the switch mid-way was noticeable.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
I very muched enjoyed this John Steakley "Vampires Inc." story narrated by Tom Weiner. The other book "Armor" by the same author and same narrator is one of my all time favorite books and audio books, and Vampire$ brought back that same kind of excitement (perhaps only 90% as much as Armor, but 90% of best is still better than almost everything else).
I was particularly grateful to John Steakley for bringing to life another incarnation of his Jack Crow and Felix characters. I view them much like the Champion Eternal characters of Michael Moorcock where Moorcock made several incarnations of the same anti-heroes (Elric, Corwin, Hawkmoon, etc.). Vampires is basically a new incarnation of the same wonderful anti-heroes that Armor had but in our world instead of the future.
At first I thought, "Gosh this sounds a lot like John Carpenter's Vampires" but with much more character development. I looked up imdb and saw that Steakley wrote John Carpenter's Vampires. But as I progressed in this book I was grateful to learn that this is not only more complex, it's a totally different story (and way better). For one thing, John Carpenter's movie doesn't even have the Felix character, and for another thing the this book takes advantage of Steakley's strength which is character develpment and battles with ones self rather than with evil.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful