Acevedo, M. (2006). The nymphos of Rocky Flats: A novel. New York: Rayo.
Felix Gomez went to Iraq and came back a changed man. Not only was he deeply affected by what he did and saw during the war, he was also transformed…into a vampire. After being discharged as a disabled veteran, thanks to a secret vampire organization, he becomes a private investigator. He lands a gig in Rocky Flats, Colorado to investigate an outbreak of nymphomania at a military base, but it quickly descends into bizarre territory. Secrets (and red tape) run deep, and it is hard to uncover the true source of the nymphomania outbreak, until Felix is captured by Vânätori, European vampire hunters. They reveal the truth about the UFO crash that led to the acquisition of red mercury, the substance responsible for the outbreak, and Felix discovers that the man who hired him is an alien masquerading as human in order to prevent humans from knowing the truth. Transforming into a wolf, Felix snatches the money and makes his getaway.
Felix Gomez is a unique vampire, preferring to feed carefully off of animal blood and rarely indulging in human blood. Moreover, he’s a good person who, though motivated by personal gain, is also concerned with doing the right thing and not indulging in wanton slaughter. With plenty of action, fights, not to mention nymphos, Mario Acevedo’s novel has male reader appeal without alienating a female audience.
If you like military vampire tales, try:
Atwater-Rhodes, A. (2000). Demon in my view. New York: Delacorte Press.
Jessica seems like a typically angry and disaffected teenager, with one exception: she is a published author, and it turns out that the stories she writes about vampires are true. The vampire community is angered by her revelations, and they send Aubrey, a character in one of her books, to dispose of her before she can unveil more secrets. Caryn Smoke, a witch, tries to warn Jessica of Aubrey’s true nature, but it isn’t until she sees the vampire town with her own eyes that she understands that her stories are not just fantasy. She learns that her mother was turned while she was pregnant, then given a second chance at life twenty years later. This means, however, that Jessica spent twenty years as a fetus before being born, and she has the taint of vampires in her aura for this reason. When she is nearly killed by another vampire, Caryn heals her part of the way, Aubrey turns her with his blood, and she begins her new unlife.
Jessica is prickly and hard to like as a main character, and the plot and characters feel somewhat two-dimensional. While I applaud that a fifteen-year-old female author was already publishing Demon in My View as her second book, it is quite obviously written by a fifteen-year-old. It reads like fanfiction written on the web, in which a writer infatuated with a TV/film/literary character writes herself into a pre-established plot. Atwater-Rhodes’ writing has been extensively reviewed and praised in the media, and is very popular with female readers. With little in it of a graphic nature, this book is an unexceptionable addition to any Young Adult collection.
If you like stories with teen outcasts, try:
Banks, L. A. (2005). The forbidden: A vampire huntress legend. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.
Carlos Rivera, former master vampire, has been resurrected as human by the forces of good, but it’s hard to be happy about it. Damali, the Vampire Huntress and Carlos’ beloved, and her vampire-slaying cadre are about to face an epic battle with Lilith, consort of Satan. Lilith wants a substance only Carlos can give her in order to birth a being of pure evil, and Dante, an evil vampire wants to impregnate Damali for a similarly nefarious purpose. Lilith uses Dante, manipulating him and setting him up as bait for Damali and her crew to destroy, but they uncover the plot and briefly team up. The child that had been in Damali’s womb was stolen by Lilith, and during the last battle with Lilith, Dante and Damali demolish the fetus so it cannot be born, but in doing so destroy any hope that Damali would regain her unborn child.
Set in locations around the world, with a team of racially-diverse, streetwise fighters, this novel differs from the usual whitewashed vampire tales. The Forbidden is brilliant and brutal, but L.A. Banks does not assist the reader at all in reintroducing characters and plot elements in each book in the series, making them very difficult to follow unless you start from the beginning.
For more African-American undead, try:
Cast, P. C., & Cast, K. (2007). The house of night: Marked. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.
Zoey Redbird, a part-Cherokee, and all-around average, 16-year-old girl is Marked as a fledgling vampyre one day at school, and further marked by the goddess Nyx. The good news is she’ll get to skip her math test the next day. The bad news is that her best friend ditched her and her mom and step-dad call the family shrink and go ultra-religious, even though vampirism is a random genetic quirk that Zoey cannot control or change. Luckily, the House of Night is a nearby school that trains fledglings until they transition to full vampyres or die, and Zoey quickly makes friends. She must learn all she can, and remain alert, for Aphrodite is a cruel person and abuses her powers. Gathering her new friends to her, they form a strong circle and prevent a tragedy that Aphrodite would have permitted. With her new fledgling love interest, Eric Night, and her group of friends, they join together to form a strong new order of determined, ethical, good young vampyre fledglings.
The Casts have created a strongly gynocentric, female-positive race of vampires that incorporates Pagan beliefs, Amazonian myth and legend, and the language and traditions of the Cherokee. Though the characters are regular teens concerned with makeup and boys, they also become richer, deeper characters with the growth of their vampyre skills. There is some minor violence and a few sexual situations, so it is recommended for teens ages 13+.
If you like witchy vampire stories, try:
Christian, M. (2006). Running dry: A novel. Los Angeles: Alyson.
Doud is a vampire and an artist, immortalizing his victims in paintings and charcoal. When Sergio, an old lover, starts looking for him, he freaks out and runs away to Barstow with his friend Shelly. He shows her old photos and tells her stories, but she doesn’t believe he’s a vampire until she sees his bottomless, devouring hunger written starkly on his face and in his gasping, sucking maw. Sergio’s old lover, Vincent, stalks Doud, pretending to be sweet but looking to suck Doud dry. Doud manages to escape the sucking death and he teams up with Sergio to defeat the insane Vincent. They chase him far out into the desert and they die, Vincent dying as he races back toward civilization.
Doud has a respect and reverence for life, remembering each victim that has sated his hunger by drawing and painting with their blood. He was born a vampire and killed the first boy he liked with an accidentally deadly kiss, but endeavors to avoid killing wantonly. With such a strong parallel drawn between gayness and death, one wonders if the author feels that gayness inherently leads to loss and death. Yet another bleak ending for gay vampires, Running Dry is a novel about the kind of vampire that doesn’t have fangs but instead has a starving, sucking pit of a mouth when feeding, creating a real feeling of horror.
Curlovich, J. M. (2005). The blood of kings. Los Angeles: Alyson.
Jamie Dunn is a young gay man in college, trying to cope with the vicissitudes of college life, and the realities of being gay in a homophobic world. He’s athletic, but he also has an inquiring mind and a deft touch with the piano. Danilo Semenkaru, an attractive Egyptology professor, intrigues Jamie, and he begins to take classes and work in the history department, but they also fall in love. There have been many unexplained disappearances and unsolved murders around campus, and Danilo is a 3,000 old vampire, a contemporary of Tutankhamen, and he is responsible. Blood and organs keep him young and vital. When Danilo is nearly apprehended by the police, he transforms into Horus and flies away. Jamie gladly follows the vampiric path without remorse and waits for him to return.
This novel is well-written with a very engaging plot that draws the reader in, but it is ultimately disappointing in the area of character development. Jamie begins as a sweet, conscientious young man who has led a hard life. He lost his parents at a young age, and was raised with the bare minimum of care by relatives, but has turned out to be a good person in spite of it. However, it seems that he too easily transforms into a heartless killer. This book will appeal to adult readers who like romantic gay tales with action, adventure, adult themes and violence.
If you like Egyptian vampire tales, try:
De la Cruz, M. (2006). Blue bloods. New York: Hyperion.
Schuyler Van Alen is a misfit with a few close friends at a fancy prep school. She’s shy and a lot of the popular girls, led by the heartless Mimi Force, pick on her. Life starts to get stranger when she turns 15, her veins becoming far bluer and more prominent, and secrets of her heritage are revealed, though at first she takes them for a joke. She is a Blue Blood, a vampire who was once a fallen angel, and doomed to keep incarnating until forgiven by God. Silver Bloods, Blue Bloods who prey on other Blue Bloods, led by Lucifer, were considered to be destroyed long ago, but they are back and killing classmates. Schuyler works on learning about her new abilities and past lives, struggling to discover everything about the Silver Bloods so she can warn and protect the other Blue Bloods.
The story focuses around Schuyler’s life, but is told from the alternating perspectives of Schuyler, Bliss, and Mimi, three very different Blue Bloods. Each girl takes a different tack on what sort of vampire and what sort of elite they choose to be: Schuyler is shy and kind, the necessity of protecting her people driving her to bravery and danger; Bliss is sweet but easily led, though she takes her first baby steps toward independence; and Mimi is predatory and elitist, disdaining anyone she considers beneath her and using her human blood supply carelessly. De la Cruz uniquely reinvents the vampire by incorporating a Buddhist concept with Christian and Biblical elements that are included without dogma or ideology being attached. Recommended for ages 13+.
If you like your vampires young and posh, try:
Dietz, U. G. (1998). Desmond: A novel of love and the modern vampire. Los Angeles: Alyson Books.
Desmond, born in 1724 to an aristocratic family, is a lonely vampire. Heading to a local bar, he meets the gorgeously intelligent 24-year-old Tony. Poor Tony’s fallen on hard times, having lost his job, but when Desmond nearly leaves in disgust after Tony tries to hustle him, Tony quickly backpedals and they instead spend a lovely night together in bed. Flashing back to his past, he recalls the horrific, amoral Parisian vampires he once knew. Tony is a smart young man and eventually he realizes that Desmond is a vampire. Though it is hard to accept at first, he gently encourages Desmond to share his past. One night, Desmond lets Tony go off with another man, but the man is responsible for several murders and fatally wounds Tony with an icepick. Tony refuses to let Desmond turn him and dies.
Desmond is a vampire who regenerates every 65 years, throwing off his slightly aged appearance and appearing youthful and vital once more. He’s your typical wealthy, white, educated gay man with a younger boyfriend, which doesn’t add much interest to the story. Characters (and people in general) that have been born into privilege always come across as slightly too polished, too shiny to be as interesting as someone who’s lived in the world and acquired their polish that way. This is not to say that the story isn’t well-written. Dietz has crafted a flowing, engaging narrative whose major flaws reside in its self-awareness as a vampire novel: the novel knows too much about itself and there are too many Anne Rice, Stoker and notable vampire works mentions for it to be entirely comfortable. Vampires and tragic gay love seem to go hand in hand for a majority of writers, and though Dietz is no exception, he has nevertheless written a very fine first novel sure to appeal to vampire aficionados.
For more gay white vampires, try: