Sunday, September 11, 2011

Unnatural Review

Read a book, it was good so I guess I'll tell you about it. This book came across my twitter stream. The tweet really didn't give any details. Just said New Novella: Unnatural Selection. Naturally, the word unnatural made me think, "VAMPIRES! Please let there be vampires!" I figured I'd give it a click and see if the description perked my interest more.

And there was vampires. Sorta. Kinda. Yeah. Well, let me give you the synopsis and that will explain why there's kinda sorta vampires. (Oh yeah, author is Ann Somerville. I kept tweeting her while reading and am so tweeting this to her. Hi Ann! I'm a little jacked up on MT Dew right now. Not a good thing at 11:38PM. Back to the review!)

Four years ago, Nick Guthrie nearly died from a brain tumour  until he received an experimental treatment that saved his life, even though the treatment brought bizarre and permanent side effects. Now he drinks fake blood to live, and has had to have his new long canines capped, but it’s a small price to pay to keep doing the job he loves. He’s a cop, part of a London Met Police Murder Investigation team.

His current case involves trying to find the person ritualistically killing gay ‘vees’. With no witnesses and no clues, the police are stymied, but Nick won’t give up until their killer is found.

Complicating his life is Dr Anton Marber, an attractive, gay minor celebrity Nick saves from being kicked to death one night. Nick doesn’t expect to see Anton again, but Anton is amazingly stubborn when it comes to things that are important to him, like Nick’s case, Nick’s diet and Nick’s determination never to fall in love again.

So this book also has a serial killer in it. OMG I have died and gone to heaven. I love, love, love serial killer stories. Even better when it's true crime. Most people have a fascination with serial killers, but I take it to a whole other level. Not hardcore obsessed, but I know my serial killers.

Anyways, the book review. I highly enjoyed this book. First off, it's set in England so yay English slang. Secondly, I highly enjoyed Nick. What he said, did, his thoughts, all pointed to a cop. I could believe him. Same with the rest of the characters. Even the minor ones. The scenes they were in, the way Nick interacted with them felt very real. What was also real was the frustration. The case Nick is on is going nowhere and he knows it and is frustrated and exhausted about it. Being the serial killer buff I am, I know that's how serial killer cases go. It's a lot of slogging through clues and interviewing everyone and finding nothing. I felt Nick's frustration too. I was rooting for him even though I was hoping Ann would stay true to serial killers. Most serial killers are caught by pure luck. Some are caught on completely unrelated charges!

Now, I can't tell you what happens since that would totally give it away. I can tell you I wasn't disappointed with how it ended. Well, maybe a little. I wasn't quite sure that if the serial killer had been real if that would have happened. That's me being overly technical about how serial killers think and act, and given the noose tightening, what happened is very plausable.

Now, this is an adult story so there's a bit of sex. It wasn't over the top, full of cringe worthy cliches. In fact, it the author really didn't linger too much on it. It wasn't important to the story, so it didn't need to be detailed. But it did need to be there. Nick is an adult and he meets Anton, who is also an adult. Both are guys and guess what guys like to do. That's right, boink (love that word.) So to me, the sex scenes just added to the realism. I'd probably have a hard time believing if Nick and Anton didn't do the sideways tango.

Oh, by the way, Nick is gay. I don't know if you caught that yet.

The only thing that really got to me were some of the terms. I felt like the terms used ("vees" and "geevees") could have been explained more. I had to deduce was geevees was and it took me a few pages to go, 'Oh, a gay person that had this treatment and is like a vampire now.' Although, I should tell you, the term vampire isn't really used. Nick isn't a vampire. He's a human and the only reason he drinks fake blood is it's the side effect of the life saving treatment he had. There were other terms as well, British abbreviations for groups or branches of government or hospitals. Having those terms explained would have been nice. I also wished the treatment Nick got would have been explained more. A little insight to how it was discovered. Throughout the story we get details on people's opinion on it, but little backstory.

As for typos I didn't really notice anything major. One dialogue tag had both " and ' at the end. That was about it.*Note* Author emailed me asking about it and turns out, it's not a typo. It was an abbreviation for Goodnight. Which I honestly have never seen anyone do. Which means we're all doing it wrong! ;)

The cover is cool too. That's one of the things that had me buying. (That and the dollar off code.) I mean, there's a bloody heart getting stabbed! Tell me that doesn't make you curious and wonder who is getting stabbed in the heart? Well, one could say it's nail polish or paint. But blood is more interesting. That's not morbid, is it?

I give this story 4.5 stars. It drew me in completely despite the terms confusion. Will look forward to more from Ann Somerville.

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