In this horror comedy, residents and medical experts scramble as a vampiric plague hits New Mexico in the mid-1980s.
The notoriety of a man dying just outside his store pushes manager Blake Barker to move his family out of Santa Fe. But
at the Las Cruces hardware shop he manages, someone else dies in a similar fashion—this time with puncture wounds.
They’re not unlike bites you’d see, as Blake puts it, “in an old, stupid 1950s vampire movie.” The Barkers’ family caretaker,
Lorena Pastore, is certain it’s a disease she’s seen before, one that usually crops up every couple of decades. Indeed,
their next-door neighbor Romero Lopes soon displays symptoms of vampirism, from his newly formed fangs to his
cravings for blood and internal organs. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control roll into town and try to contain the
outbreak, but quarantining people does little to stop Romero’s murderous rampages. Lorena, meanwhile, struggles to
convince the Barkers that “los vampiros” are real, and Blake and his family learn that a human can transform into a
vampire from other ways than a bite. Hill and Cavaretta inject a surprising amount of dark humor into their series opener.
For example, one character’s mutilation by Romero’s fangs as well as the subsequent developments are played for
laughs. But other parts of the story the authors take seriously, like medical experts’ remarkable, jargon-laden dialogue
about specific causes of the disease and potential vaccines. The tale moves at a steady clip notwithstanding its hefty cast
of locals, CDC scientists, and military personnel. They endure brutal vamp attacks, unexpected deaths, and even murders
committed by the uninfected. The uncredited illustrations give this book a surreal quality, including an image of a couple
whose apparent embrace resembles both a dance and a bloody vampire assault. Unfortunately, there’s neither a
resolution nor a cliffhanger, as the authors save key details for the sequel.
An absorbing and often droll vampire tale with an eclectic cast.