“Lifeblood”
Book 2 of the Vampire Files
by P.N. Elrod
read by Barett Whitener
Produced 2009 by Blackstone Audio

Once again P.N. Elrod has created a fun read in the second installment of The Vampire Files, with “Lifeblood.”  What makes these books fun is that they are not just another book about vampires but they are the film noir of vampire novels.  Did you ever read any of the old detective magazines with stories about a private investigator of sorts cracking the case while at the same time narrating every little detail?  Well that’s what you can expect from The Vampire Files.

Barrett Whitener reads them in the fashion that brings up pictures of Humphry Bogart or William Powell as the detective.  His delivery is perfect for the first person telling of these stories.   Especially when he has to deliver such lines as; “That thought chafed at me like starched underwear.” or “The knife was so sharp it hurt to look at it.”  These are classic examples of the language from the style these books are written in and Barrett Whitener knows how to deliver them.

Jack Fleming was an investigative journalist in Prohibition-era New York but when he died he became a Vampire and moved to Chicago.  In P.N. Elrod’s vampire mythology vampires exchange blood with a human and after the human dies they may or may not become a vampire.  The logic behind this is that if in every case of blood “sharing” the human became a vampire, the world would be overrun by vampires.  Makes sense.  In Jack’s case, he was sent by the paper to cover the world premiere of the movie “Dracula” starring Bela Lugosi.  There he meets Maureen and they discuss the possibilities, they fall in love and she tells Jack she’s an honest to goodness vampire.  The inevitable blood exchange happens, with neither of them knowing if it’ll take.  Maureen then leaves saying someone is after her and Jack never hears from her again.  In the meantime (book one of the series) Jack is killed and comes back as a vampire.  He also becomes associated with a private investigator in Chicago,  Charles Escott.

In this book, it has been 5 years since Maureen disappeared and up until now Jack has been running ads in the personal columns in several newspapers nationwide asking if she is safe. (remember it is the mid 1930s and Craigslist has yet to be invented) The five years past Jack has been faithful to finding Maureen, but he has now fallen in love with a nightclub singer he rescued in book one.  So he stops he ads.  His current love is about to hit it big with a radio broadcast performance and Jack is ready to move on.

The problem with stopping the ads is that it brings Jack to the attention of people who have been also looking for Maureen.  One of these is a nearly comical team of vampire hunters named Braxton and Webster.  Braxton owned a bookstore in New York specializing in rare books, especially those on the occult, he has been hunting Maureen and when Jack stops the ads he knows Jack has been changed.  The other is Maureen’s younger sister, now 82 years old (yes, vampirism keeps you looking young).  The sister is wanting to find Maureen because she is dying, she wants Maureen to turn her into a vampire.

What soon becomes a hunt for the truth Jack and Escott have to solve the mystery of the never before heard of sister of Maureen and at the same time keeping the vampire hunters at bay.

With some great mysteries to be solved and even a few laughs thrown in “Lifeblood” is worth the listen whether you are a detective or vampire fan.

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