Monday, February 7, 2011

Review: Dark Road Rising (Vampire Files #12)

"As Jack tries to unravel the mystery surrounding Kroun's undead state, he gets caught between his charge's violent outbursts and some syndicate torpedoes looking to rub them both out, leaving him vulnerable to an even deadlier threat--the trheat of an old enemy desperate to unlock the secrets of Jack's vampire immortality..."

Dark Road Rising, by P.N. Elrod, is the twelfth novel in the Vampire Files series. It is the winter of 1938 in mob-ruled Chicago. Jack Fleming is owner of the NightCrawler Club. He is recovering from a maniac episode where he pulped his best friend, Charles Escott, to severe condition in the hospital. To make matters even more bizarre, Jack meets notorious New York mobster, Whitney Kroun, who should have died in a car bomb; instead, Jack discovers his undead secret!

While Kroun uses his blood to save Escott from a deadly infection, he leads Jack on a journey to a world of hidden secrets as he tries to recall the truth about his murder. His talented girlfriend, Bobbi Smythe, also wants to audition for Hollywood, and he rightfully wonders about his future in Chicago. An old nemesis also unexpectedly resurfaces and is determined to unlock his vampire secrets -- even if it kills him.

This is the latest novel in the Vampire Files series since Song in the Dark. Elrod ties up loose ends from a previous novel, Cold Street. Overall, this is one of the darkest plots about Jack. She continues to explore his mental well-being and the effects of torture on his worldview and relations around others. Furthermore, the book has two narrators -- Fleming and Kroun, which was a first for this series. I liked how I was vividly exposed to both men's thoughts as they investigated clues and survived danger.

The plot is full of twists and action. It started slow but quickly picked up pace. The ending is a mixed-bag: it nicely finishes the novel, and serves as an end to the series (I hope not!). Elrod understands this time period (Prohibition-era 1930s) very well and uses popular culture references to make this series legitimate and humorous. I have been following this series for over seven years now (during that time, I finished high school, graduated from college and will finish graduate school this summer!). I have become a faithful fan, and will continue to support the Vampire Files!

Will Elrod write another book for this series? It is a very good question, and it is currently unknown. If I have any latest news, I will post an update!

For fans, check out her latest novella, The Devil You Know.

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