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REVIEW: No Dominion by Charlie Huston

REVIEW SUMMARY: More engaging vampire noir.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Vampire Joe Pitt tracks down the source of a new drug that’s strong enough to affect vampires.

PROS: The writing style makes for quick, engaging reading; the noir atmosphere.
CONS: Mired down a bit too long in intra-clan politics for my taste, even though it was essential to the story.
BOTTOM LINE: I want more and I want them sooner.

No Dominion is the second book in The Joe Pitt Casebooks, following Already Dead. You don’t need to read the first book to enjoy this one, but it does help flesh out the cast better and, hey, it’s a good read, too.

This time around Joe Pitt is still strapped for the cash that he needs to score the life-sustaining blood required by the vampire virus – yes, I still refuse to use the cutesy spelling of vampire and virus using the “letter “y” like the book does. Joe takes a job with one of the vampire clans. Being a rogue, this takes a huge amount of pride-swallowing on Joe’s part. But a vampire’s gotta do what a vampire’s gotta do and for Joe this means tracking the source of a new drug that is potent enough to affect the vampires themselves. With enough of a dosage, the drug is lethal and that threatens the uneasy stability of the New York City vampire clans.

As with the previous book, No Dominion is a vampire noir treat. Joe’s first-person narration-with-an-attitude has much to do with that appeal. It’s just plain fun to get inside Joe’s head as he’s traveling around the city and into the dangerous turf of the vampire clans that are normally avoided. There is suitable dramatic tension throughout the book like when, following one lead, Joe takes a train uptown to The Hood, a vampire clan that takes no prisoners…for longer than it takes to have them provide ghoulish entertainment, anyway.

Charlie Huston‘s writing style still makes for quick, engaging reading. (And I have now become accustomed to the usage of dashes instead of quotes to denote dialog, a writing trait that took some getting used to in the first book.) The author’s prose never fails to pull you right along with the story. Between the writing style and the plot surprises, this is a book that you will read through quickly.

Having recently read Already Dead, the book that introduces Joe Pitt, it was kind of a treat to see most of the old characters again including Joe’s in-the-dark girlfriend, Evie, and Tom, the power-hungry second-in-command to Terry Bird, a clan leader with whom Joe has a long history. There are also enough new characters thrown in spice thing up, like Digga, a leader in The Hood clan, and old lady Vandewater, who keeps an uneasy truce with the neighboring clans. The drug storyline wanders a bit too steeped in intra-clan politics for my taste, but they are ultimately essential to the story.

By story’s end, things seem to be changing for Joe, promising even bigger and better thrills. So once again I look forward to seeing how these stories progress however, at this point, I wish they’d come out sooner.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.
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