Lee Killough,
Blood Games
(Meisha Merlin, 2001)

Blood Games is the third novel by Lee Killough with young vampire Garreth Mikaelian in the lead role. (The previous two books are Blood Hunt and Bloodlinks.) Garreth has been a vampire for 15 years. During this period of coming to grips with this new lifestyle where time seems to have stood still, his human links -- including friends, parents and his own son -- have continued to age and react to the passing of time as they inevitably must.

Garreth has yet managed to sever the link to his human past. He has continued a "human" life of being a police officer in a small town. While a few select people know his true identity, even his on again/off again lover, Maggie Lebekov (also a police officer), has no clue about Garreth's anti-aging secret. It certainly helps that in the world Killough has created, vampires are not destroyed by sunlight, merely weakened by it. There is also an underground network that supplies vampires with synthetic blood, which negates the need for human victims.

For those of you who prefer the vampire realm of Anne Rice, Blood Games will surely disappoint. Why? Because early on, Maggie is brutally killed during a vivid car chase scene which Garreth survives due only to his "condition." The book quickly becomes a murder-mystery as Garreth starts a multi-state search for those responsible. The vampirism comes in to play, but it definitely takes a back seat while Garreth plays detective.

Personally, I like vampire novels as well as mysteries. I quite enjoyed this novel. Sure, it never had the gothic horror of Rice, but then, Killough is not trying to be a Rice clone. I have to mention that I was often reminded of the old late-night series Forever Knight, which I occasionally watched in the early '90s. This show featured a vampire detective who was based in a large city instead of a small town. While I am unsure who first came up with the idea of vampire detectives, Killough's Blood series definitely has entertainment value in my opinion.

Lee Killough has been publishing stories since 1970. According to the short author bio, she has published ten novels and numerous short stories, ranging from straight science fiction and mystery/science fiction to fantasy and dark fantasy. One of her short stories -- "Symphony For a Lost Traveler" -- was even nominated for a Hugo award in 1984. So, we know Killough can write. The question is, are you interested in reading about a modern-day vampire detective?

[ by Wil Owen ]
Rambles: 3 November 2001

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