book review by Mark Heisey
“I have no fewer than two human vampires on my hit-squad team. I’ll just bring them up here to your precious
DC beltway and let them eat you.”
After being turned into a vampire by Romero Lopes, the homicidal vampire who killed his wife, Blake Barker
has tamed his aggression and keeps his feeding restricted to animals and those people who deserve it. With his new control over
his urges, Blake is driven to find his son, Nathan. Nathan was kidnapped by Lorena Pastore, who used to work for Blake. She
feared that he might harm his son due to his vampirism. Lorena absconded to Mexico to hide with family members who own a
ranch. She is also pursued by Romero, who is desperate for the return of an obsidian knife she carries. In addition, there are a
group of scientists studying the vampirism disease, a military biological weapons group with a vampire of their own, and two men
who swear they love Lorena—a doctor and Blake’s brother Cletus—who are also headed to Mexico. Romero has found work in
Mexico as a hitman for a violent drug cartel, and all these individuals, with their varying motives, intersect with tremendous
Once again, Hill and Cavaretta impress with their tight story structure and exploration of a virus-driven vampire outbreak. The
cast of characters who survived the first book is back and met with multiple new and diverse additions. The character
development improves upon what was done in the first book. Additionally, the sex, gore, and violence are all turned up. Readers
unfamiliar with the first book should imagine a mashup of the violence and story-driven narrative found in Scott Snyder’s graphic
novel series American Vampire combined with a Tarantino-style dialogue wrapped in precise and well-researched medical horror.
Compared to the first book, the characters are better established, the action quicker and more visceral, and the overall feel is
more frantic and related to a summer blockbuster film. For example, there is a scene where a violent drug gang is engaged in a
softball game using live but amputated people as bases. Meanwhile, some gang members are planning a bloody coup while
members of a secret U.S. biological weapons program are preparing to spray everyone with an M60. Everything about the first
book is magnified here, and most of the book illustrates how the writers’ abilities are maturing.
Hill and Cavaretta manage to keep the narrative pace at an impressive speed, even while highlighting the technical and medical
origin of the virus and poking fun at the corruption and greed found in American politics. The caricatures of politicians and
military brass will surely bring a few chuckles. The authors have grown bolder with this second book and are much less reserved.
Readers who enjoyed the first volume will be even more entertained and excited about this one. Fiction fans who are comfortable
with this type of humor and over-the-top violence will find that this novel pushes those aspects even further. Overall, this second
book will absolutely delight those who enjoyed the first and shows that the co-authors are growing in both the quality and control
they have over their narrative.