Rachel Caine,
The Morganville Vampires #9: Ghost Town
(NAL, 2010)

Ghost Town is the ninth book in the Morganville Vampire series. The basis is Claire Danvers, girl genius, who wanted to go to MIT on early entry, but her parents sent her closer to home to Texas Plains University in Morganville, Texas. After all, what could happen in a small Texas town? A lot, so far. You see, the town's owned by vampires and the college is just a front to keep up the blood supply. Morganville's a lot like the Hotel California in that you can "check out anytime you like, but you can never leave."

Every book so far has left me wondering. Ghost Town had me up until 2 a.m. turning pages as fast as I could. The story starts out typically enough with a college town rave. Claire's friend and roommate from the Glass House, Eve, is going along as a big sister to a younger college student. Claire, who's more into reading marathons than raves, opts for a night at the drive-in with her boyfriend Shane.

Claire's so innocent, she's thinking at first they'll be watching the movie. Their passion's interrupted by a phone call from Eve. Claire hears her friend's voice along with a lot of screaming.

They call the Morganville police, but know they'll get there quicker. What they see when they arrive is a fight between frat boys and vampires. Silver stake at the ready, they wade in. Unfortunately, Claire kills a vampire. It's self-defense, but the penalty for her crime in vamp-run Morganville is death.

Instead, she's sentenced to helping Myrnin, the resident mad genius vampire, to rebuild the machine that provides Morganville's defenses. The Council rules that Claire cannot sleep until this is done, which may in itself be a death sentence -- particularly since the last machine to perform this function was powered by the human brain of Myrnin's previous assistant, Ada.

Somehow, the two get the machine up and running. Claire returns home to the Glass House to sleep off 40-plus hours of nonstop work only to waken to a nightmare. Her housemate, Michael, doesn't recognize her. Soon, she discovers all the residents of the town are suffering some form of amnesia and violent behavior. She's got to turn the machine off, but can she get the help she needs when even her friends do not remember her?

While Ghost Town is a stand-alone book, I strongly recommend that readers start with Glass House and move through the series. Rachel Caine's storytelling is well worth the effort!

book review by
Becky Kyle

23 July 2011

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