Stalking the Vampire: A Fable of Tonight
by Mike Resnick
Cover Artist: Dan Dos Santos
Review by Drew Bittner
Pyr Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781591026495
Date: August 2008 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
John J. Mallory, private eye in a very unusual parallel Manhattan, is riding out Halloween--barely. His partner Winnifred, a peerless hunter of all things natural and unnatural, is looking uncommonly tired; she reveals that her nephew has come to town and is a bit more nocturnal than she expected.
Mallory isn't too surprised to find the kid's been turned into a vampire. What does surprise this hardboiled gumshoe is finding the kid dead, Winnifred on a hunting rampage, and the apparent malefactor scared out of his wits.
What the devil is going on? It's a mystery, all right, and one that Mallory had better solve before all Halloween breaks loose.
Mike Resnick returns to John Justin Mallory in Staking the Vampire, a follow-up to Stalking the Unicorn. He combines a breezy style heavy on puns with some deliberate nods to the noir genre from which Mallory slouches. His office help is disturbingly inhuman, his aging lady partner is bloodthirsty, and the case seems to make no sense.
Aha, but that's just what he wants you to think. Resnick has some surprises up his sleeve in this novel, playing out the clues as he builds to the denouement.
Mallory remains a great character, the classic world-weary knight in trenchcoat armor, with a strong supporting cast. He makes his way through strange terrain--a New York City where the fantastic is the norm--from a hotel for vampires to a zombie ball to some very improbable places, with the somewhat unprepossessing vampire McGuire in tow and Felina, the catgirl, as a cheerfully murderous sidekick.
It's clear Resnick is having fun with the characters, setting and mystery itself. Readers who enjoy a lighthearted caper through familiar-but-not territory will find this a pleasant read.