P.N. Elrod has done it again. I've been waiting for the next installment in this series and was thrilled when it came out. Jack Fleming, a vampire with a conscience, is quite a character. Angela is quite a dame and the other characters that "flesh" out the story are all well done. I read on the jacket that Ms Elrod is branching out into other genre but I hope she continues this series and that of Johnathan Barrett, Gentleman Vampire.
I have been reading P. N. Elrod vampire novels for around ten years now. The other ones are all wonderful, which is why I was disappointed by this one. Usually Elrod's novels contain many touches of humor and an element of mystery. Chill in the Blood doesn't have much humor and there is no mystery--we know who is trying to kill the hero, Jack, and it's nearly everybody. My favorite part of the book was Jack's stay in a black movie theater and his run-in with the touchy proprietor. The discussions of racial issues between characters in a book set a few years before World War II are fascinating. Unfortunately, Elrod doesn't do anything with them. After being stressed heavily in the first quarter of the book that theme is left behind and never returned to, and trails off as a total loose end. Elrod also plants dark hints about Escott, Jack's sidekick, but holds off on revealing anything until, apparently, the next book. Annoying. On the positive side, the pace is rapid (almost too rapid) and if you are already a fan it will hold your attention well enough. If you're new to this series, DON'T start here! Start with Bloodlist, the first one. You will never figure out who all these people are and what is going on, much less come to care about them. In a frenziedly action-filled story, there isn't time. I agree with the previous reviewer's skepticism about whether there would really be time for so much to happen in a single night. I had the impression Elrod was busy tying off ends from previous novels in order to get them out of the way, and if so the next book, Dark Sleep, is probably better. I hope so. After following Jack's adventures for so long, I'd hate to lose touch with him.;)
This book is indeed a fun read. P.N. Elrod continues the sagas of Jack Flemming, Vampire, and his adventures with the mobsters and corrupt polititions during post prohobition in Chicago. This episode finds Jack caught between several local mob bosses, the boys from New York who are showing their muscle and of course the corrupt arm of the law. The book is very entertaining, funny, a mystery, has good old fashioned Chicagoland gangsters, and a Vampire who does his best to keep the peace. Jack, as most Vampires nowadays has a conscience and will not feed from humans, but by living in Chicago close to the stockyards always provides him with all the nutrition he needs. If you're looking for a fast paced, gangster mystery with a good hearted Vampire, then you're going to enjoy this book.
I didn't realize until after I already had it home that this book was the 7th in the series. "Oh great," I thought, "if this is any good, I'm going to have 6 more books to buy!" I started reading "Chill in the Blood" on Sunday night, and only put it down at 6am Monday morning because I started falling asleep from being up all night. I could not put it down! That afternoon I tried four different bookstores, trying to get the rest of the series. Finally had to order them all online, not to mention ordering the first book from a "Rare, Used and Out-of-Print Books" site. The only reason the Internet was my last stop was that I wanted them NOW, not after having to wait for them to ship! The only thing I haven't liked about the story (besides Jack being "attached" <wink>) is that I feel like I walked into the middle of the tale, as it obviously picks straight up from the last book. The first person POV is a wonderful touch, really getting the reader in touch with Jack. And being a fan of the 1930s & 1940s "The Shadow" pulp fiction stories, I was thrilled to find that the book is set in 1937! Jack even mentions "The Shadow"! In my opinion, that gave Ms. Elrod "bonus points." LOL I could gush all night, but I'm about a hundred pages from finishing the book, so I gotta go read!
CHILL IN THE BLOOD is the seventh installment of the Vampire Files. While it too is rather repetitive because it uses the same plot devices as the previous stories, it does have some redeeming qualities. Once again Jack is in a fight with the mob and goes through all kinds of physical abuse. I think in every story so far his head is smashed in by somebody. But at least here we get some more insight on some mobsters Jack befriends, like Shoe Colefield, the black mobster on that side of town. And Bobbi, Jack's lady friend, is always fun to be around. Not the best of the Vampire Files by far, but not a total waste of time either.
The series has been fun, all of 'em Good Light Reads, but I find the throwaway characters unconvincing- if a new character is introduced with a sketchy background, rest assured that he is a "red shirt" type that won't make it to the end of the book alive. I also find the "Agathie Christie" style of last minute rescue by preposterous means a tad annoying. The most recent installment, The Dark Sleep, drops a complete subplot into the middle of the book with a mighty thud. Elrod is a good writer, a fun storyteller, but her plots need work.