Thursday, 25 September 2008

‘Every Last Drop’ – Charlie Huston (Del Rey/Orbit Books)

After being on anti-biotics for the last couple of weeks I finished up the tablets a couple of days ago and was able to have a few glasses of red wine last night. Boy, am I paying for that this morning...
My head is pounding while the rest of my body just feels like it has been pounded and my eyeballs feel like they’re resting on sand paper right now. There’s nothing I want more right now to be tucked up in bed, waiting for it to stop hurting, but the day is moving on and I have to move with it if I’m going to get any one of a number of things (that I really don’t want to do) done. In short, I’m feeling a little like my favourite freelance PI vampyre Joe Pitt must be feeling around about now...

‘Half the Blood of Brooklyn’ saw Joe Pitt burn all his bridges and go into exile in the Bronx. However, there’s always work in Manhattan for a vampyre like Joe and he’s got a very good reason for wanting to win back a little breathing space on the island. There’s a new Clan in town whose vow is to find a cure for the vyrus that causes the vampyre condition and the way they’re going about it could expose the whole vampyre world to mortal eyes. No-one wants this and Joe is just the kind of cog that could move things to a more agreeable conclusion.
Things never turn out that easy though do they? It’s certainly not that easy for Joe who is about to find that one job always ends up in at least three more needing to be done and must also decide how he deals with the revelation of just what keeps the truce in Manhattan so finely balanced. Where does all the blood actually come from when vampyres must be so careful about their feeding habits...?

I’ll come clean right now and say that I’ve been a big fan of the Joe Pitt books ever since I got hold of a copy of ‘Already Dead’. With this in mind, the mark this book gets will more than likely reflect my enjoyment of it a little more than the reviews here normally do. I’m just saying is all... ;o)
The bottom line is though that, despite a couple of very small niggles, I thoroughly enjoyed every single page of ‘Every Last Drop’ and I reckon if you’re a fan then you’ll feel the same.

If you haven’t already read the other books though then you may want to go back to the beginning and start on ‘Already Dead’ as ‘Every Last Drop’ continues established plot arcs and sets events up, for future books, that readers will appreciate more if they have already read the other books.
If you have read the other books then you’re in for a bit of a treat as Huston delivers a tale bristling with New York attitude and vampyre clans that will do anything to defend their turf. There are no punches pulled and Joe Pitt is just as liable to take a beating (and worse) as the next vampyre, he deserves it with some of the things he will stoop to in order to get by as his own man. If you like your urban fantasy hard-bitten and with a taste of noir then this is the book for you.

I’ve mentioned before that Huston doesn’t really bring anything new, in his writing, to the table. Why should he need to when the end result works so well? What he gives the reader instead is a seamy tale of intrigue and double crossing that can tie your brain in knots (trying to figure it out) but comes together perfectly at the end. There are signs though that his normally tight and concise writing might just be starting to unravel a bit. ‘Every Last Drop’ is only two hundred and fifty two pages long (and everything fits together well in those pages) but we’re starting to see people being a little more talkative than normal. When these characters only play a peripheral role then it becomes a question of whether this creates more atmosphere or if it’s just talking for the sake of talking. I’m not sure and will wait and see how the next book turns out before saying it’s one or the other...

The revelation, behind the source of the Coalition’s blood supply, isn’t too much of a surprise if you think about what any sensible vampire would do to keep a constant supply of blood. Just multiply that in order to feed several thousand vampyres...
Where Huston gives it a little spin is the effect it has on Joe and what he does as a result. Joe’s actions are going to have big repercussions on what happens in the following book, it looks like war is on the way... It’s also interesting trying to figure out how much Joe Pitt is a victim of circumstance (and other events beyond his control) and how much he is manipulating events for his own gain. Whatever is happening, it is clear that there is far more to Joe than he is letting on.

While there are a couple of niggles (as far as I was concerned) these didn’t detract from what turned out to be another great piece of action on the vampyre ridden streets of New York. Fans are going to get as much out of ‘Every Last Drop’ as they have done out of the previous books, fans of urban fantasy in general should give this series a go if they haven’t already...
‘Every Last Drop’ will be released on September 30th in the US, if you’re waiting on the UK release then you’ll be waiting until early next year.

Nine and a Quarter out of Ten

No comments: