Blood and Rust: Two Novels of the Cleveland Undead
by S.A. Swiniarski
Review by Gayle Surrette
DAW Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756404161
Date: 06 March 2007 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Publisher's Page / Show Official Info /
In Raven, Damien Castle wakes in a sewer, freezing, covered in blood and with, you guessed it, amnesia. He starts piecing his life together from the bits of information found in his pockets, messages on his phone, and from his clothes. As he searches to find out who he is, he's also learning about what he has become and what he's willing to do to protect himself and those he cares about. The story is a powerful one of family, loyalty, and betrayal.
The Flesh, The Blood, and the Fire is a mix of history and fiction. Det. Stefan Ryzard and his partner Nuri Lapidos are investigating body parts which are showing up along the railroad tracks. As the bodies pile up the case becomes the Kingsbury Run Murders and rates a higher profile detective. It seems that Stefan's reports were reading more like fiction than police work even though he reported what he saw and what he heard and knew. Now you mix in the fact that at this time Elliot Ness was moving to Cleveland to clean up the corruption. Plus, there's a vampire who plans to take over the world one business and government agency at a time putting key people in thrall to him and using humanity as his worshippers. Swiniarski manages to pull it all together in a scarily logically possible manner -- it gave me the creeps.
The writing is tight and rich with people who have lives and breathe. They don't have simple parts they are richly written with the weight of a background and history. It's two novels in one but each could stand alone since one doesn't depend on the other. However, don't miss the chance to read both these books as they do bring up a lot of issues and examines the boundaries of the vampire mythos.
I'm not a real history buff so after finishing The Flesh, The Blood, and the Fire, I spent an evening Googling Elliot Ness, Cleveland, and The Kingsbury Run Murders. It's amazing how the story fits with the actuality with the frisson of could it have been.
From: Michelle Swiniarski: