Quick Review: NIGHTSHADE by Melissa F. Olson (Tor.com)

OlsonMF-NightshadesThe beginning of an intriguing new urban fantasy series…?

Alex McKenna is the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations — the division tasked with investigating crimes involving shades.

Or vampires, as they’re more widely known.

Children have been going missing, and agents are routinely being slaughtered. It’s up to McKenna, and some unlikely allies, to get to the bottom of the problem, and find the kids before it’s too late.

This is another interesting novella from Tor.com. Olson takes an interesting, newish look at vampire mythology and places them into the global spotlight. I enjoyed this quite a bit.

Vampires have only recently been revealed to a still-skeptical world, and the FBI is trying to get a handle on what they mean for law enforcement, and what they should do about them — they are, after all, far more powerful and dangerous than any other criminal the Feebies are used to tackling. The characters are well-drawn, for the most part, echoing classic types found in urban fantasy and crime/mystery thrillers. There were a few moments of info-dumping or “Now, pay attention, this is important Exposition”, and one instance of slightly-cheesy action-movie partner-bro telegraphing, but generally speaking this is a well-written, tightly told story.

Nightshades offers a good, fast-paced, sometimes creepy (the chase in the field at night!) introduction to this reality, with plenty of potential for expansion. (Something I’d be all for — I finished this definitely thinking, “More, please.”) Certainly recommended for anyone looking for a cool new urban fantasy/mystery.

*

Nightshades is due to be published by Tor.com on July 19th, 2016.

Interview with VAUGHN ENTWISTLE

EntwistleV-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Vaughn Entwistle?

I was born in Weston, Ontario, Canada to British parents, but I grew up in Northern England where the Entwistle tribe hails from.

Later, I lived in Seattle, Washington for close to twenty years (and loved it), but when I landed the book deal my wife and I seized the chance to move back to England. As a writer who specializes in historical fiction (much of which takes place in England) it is much easier to carry out research and actually walk the ground of the places I write about.

Currently, my and wife and I live in the ancient city of Wells in the county of Somerset. Most days I take a break from the keyboard to walk the dog on a route that takes us past the 11th century cathedral, through the market place, and along the moat that surrounds the Bishop’s palace, returning home through Vicar’s Close, the oldest street in Europe with all its medieval houses intact. Wells is a wonderful place for a writer to live. Beyond the obvious history, I find something very calming and deeply spiritual about the place.

Your new novel, The Dead Assassin will be published by Titan Books this month. It’s the second book in the series, The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. What can fans of the first book expect for this new book, and how would you introduce it to new readers?

Fans of the first novel, The Revenant of Thraxton Hall, will find themselves on familiar territory. But as many reviewers have noted, it’s not necessary to have read the first book. I constructed the opening of second novel in such a way that new readers are brought up to speed in just a few paragraphs. That said, anyone expecting a straightforward mystery might be knocked a bit off balance. Both novels feature elements of the paranormal and are written to be funny and scary and slightly over the top. (Reviewers often describe them as “a romp.”) Wilde is there to provide wit and a bon vivant’s skewed outlook on the proceedings, while Conan Doyle’s Holmesian mind keeps the plot anchored in reality. Continue reading