Since the dawn of time, war has raged between man and the undead. From the valleys of the antediluvian world to the skyscrapers of the 21st century, the battlegrounds change but the crusade goes on. And Manhattan socialite Nicole Van Wyck has just joined the battle.
Nicole’s life of fancy parties, expensive restaurants and easy luxury is over. As an elder vampire’s search for the most powerful grimoire in the world — the Book of Thoth — nears the end, only Nicole and her fellow vampire hunters stand between the undead and the ruin of the greatest city on Earth.
The Book of Thoth was an exciting read! … There’s a lot of tension with just the right amount of comic relief. The dialogue is crisp and gritty, too. … In sum, I really enjoyed reading this novel and can highly recommend it to fans of Christian fantasy and vampire-slayer type tales.”- Blogcritics
“His story subverts the possibility of “misunderstood brooders of the tragic night” by making vampirism a form of demonic possession–demons who’ll do whatever they can to prevent being sent back to hell. … The story’s humor is occasionally blatant but often deviously subtle. … A solid vampire yarn for readers who’ve had enough of moping, love-struck bloodsuckers.” – Kirkus Reviews
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My main goal was the desire to write something taking vampires back to their villainous roots. Noble vampires and conflicted vampires can be done well, but sometimes you just want to punch the undead in the face. That’s what the Vatican Vampire Hunters series is all about. You won’t find a trace of moral ambiguity or angst in the vampires here.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The main character, Nicole van Wyck, is loosely based on various characters I’ve played in role-playing games over the last 10-15 years. The other heroes mix features of genre characters I like, my own ideas, and people I’ve met in real life.
As for the villains, the Count and Alice represent different aspects of evil. Kirya is a little like Saruman from Lord of the Rings in that he’s a rebel against both good and her own evil master. Alice is more casually evil, focused on her own immediate gratification instead of any grand plans.
Sharkey’s was a dive’s dive in Jersey City. The beer was so-so, and the music was about the same. The bikers — Cain’s Kids — who called it home loved it. Everyone else pretty much passed it by.
But not tonight.
When it all went down, the bar was empty of everyone except the die-hard drinkers, a bartender and a bouncer.
At the bar, Joker and Dirty Dan were busy loudly arguing about the relative merits of the Giants and the Jets. Three-Eyes was fiddling with the jukebox and Viking was just coming back from the pisser. Grubb was polishing the bar, hoping the bikers would get lost so he could close up, and Rocco was trying to stay awake by the front door.
And then she walked in. Blonde and beautiful, and the outfit didn’t hurt either — a tight white t-shirt, a leather microskirt, thigh-high boots and a big nose-ring for (real or posed) attitude.
Every eye in the place was on her in zero seconds flat, and stayed on her as she sauntered up to the bar.
“Hey lady,” Grubb said. “What’ll it be?”
Alice’s pale blue eyes flicked up to the neon signs overhead and then back down at the chubby bartender. “Beer.”
“Picky, huh?” he asked with a strained smile. It had been a long night. “Beer it is.”
Dirty Dan eased himself off one stool, wandered over and leaned against the bar next to Alice.
“Evening, gorgeous. How ya doin’?”
She looked over at him with a half-smile. “Been better, been worse.”
“That’s Zen. I like it.” He looked her up and down. God damn, T&A all the way… “Name’s Dan. Dirty Dan.”
“Oh yeah. I got a dirty mind.” He leaned in a little bit and leered. Five (six? seven?) beers made him bold, and this being his home turf and her being flirty (he thought) and dressed for fun made him bolder.
“All right. Tell me, Dirty Dan, what do you think’s going to happen?”
“Well.” Dirty Dan showed his yellowing teeth in a huge grin. “Yer gonna hop on the back of my ride and then…” He waggled his brows at her. “Ride of yer life, gorgeous.”
Alice’s smile was a cool one. “That’s not actually what’s going to happen.”
“Oh yeah? What’s gonna to happen?”
“What’s going to happen is I’m going to open this bottle here,” and she did, “and let it pour onto the floor, and before it stops, I’m going to kill every one of you.”
The bikers, who had all drifted in close to see how Dirty Dan did, stared at her. One of them almost laughed, a wild nervous sort of laugh, but he held it back so it became a sort of muffled gasp instead.
Alice set the bottle down and as it began to pour down onto the floor, she moved.
Dirty Dan’s jaw dropped. She smashed her fingers into his gaping mouth, popping a dozen teeth loose.
Dirty Dan gagged as he swallowed two teeth and then went “ghk“ as Alice jabbed him again, this time in the Adam’s apple. Choking, he fell and died in a matter of minutes.
Joker yelled and took a wild swing at Alice’s head from behind. She let the blow connect and grinned at the man’s yelp of pain.
Joker swung again. This time, Alice caught his fist in her hand. She squeezed, shattering half the bones in his hand, and then finished him with a quick crushing jab to the throat.
Three-Eyes flicked out a switch blade and stabbed at Alice. The blade slipped between her ribs… and stayed there.
“What — how — what —” were Three-Eyes’ last words on this Earth. Alice grabbed his jaw in one hand and his shoulder in the other, and with a quick jerk, snapped his neck.
“Crazy ass bitch!” Viking yelled. He waved around a big black pistol. Alice did a backwards kick that collapsed his ribs inward and punctured his heart. The gun went off just once as Viking fell back.
Grubb was just coming back up from under the bar with a shotgun when Alice brought her fist down on the top of his skull.
Rocco dove at Alice like she was an escaping running back. She stopped all 250 lbs of him with one neck-shattering kick.
The beer stopped pouring out of the bottle. Alice flicked a finger and the bottle jumped back up, swayed crazily and then settled into a standing position.
She turned and looked back at the door, where another vampire — a greasy-haired biker type — leaned and sneered. “You’re in trouble now, bitch,” he declared.
Alice stared at him. “Am I now?”
“You sure are. The Count doesn’t like it when we aren’t careful. And bitch, you were so not careful.”
Alice entertained images of ripping the man’s throat out with her fangs. The Count? “Well, that’s exciting.”
The biker sneered and bared his fangs, as if that might somehow intimidate Alice. “Yes. He’ll think so, too, I’m sure.” He gave one last sneer and then stomped off.
“Well… that’s definitely exciting,” Alice murmured to herself as the door slammed shut behind him. A minute later, she followed, emerging into the night air. Across the river, she could see the gleaming lights of the city.
“Hello, New York,” Alice murmured as she headed for her own bike with a huge smile on her face.
I grew up on a strange diet of Tolkien, Lewis, Lucas, Roddenberry, Stoker, monster movies and comic books. Somehow, all of this combined with my conversion to Catholicism to give you the Vatican Vampire Hunters series and his other works. I was born, raised and live in Western New York with a cat who is not at all interested in my overly large collection of bad movies.
Have you read this book or others by this author? Tell us in the comments how you liked it!