Jack Strayhorn has lived a long, long time, and has pretty much seen it all. He’s a vampire, turned in 1948 after a harrowing police case. No longer a cop (hard to explain), he’s currently a private investigator who can differentiate smells to tell him a story. Hired for a missing persons case, the result is death by Fae. Not wanting it to be his business, but getting dragged into this new case anyway, Jack soon finds that he is a target for following the “scent,” albeit a deadly and formidable one.
More below on One Death at a Time (Twelve Stakes, Volume 1) by Thomas M. Hewlett.
This novel is a short, but fun read. It has the feel of those gritty, old school detective stories, except there is magic strewn about. The darkness of the world, the vampire disease, and the aspects of the mystery are very descriptive.
Jack is a fascinating character, but he’s not the only one. Charles is a standout, and not only because he can make you see (and experience) the past. You need to read to find out more.
I think my only real criticism is that it could have been fleshed out more, thus been a little longer. There were pockets of potential tangents that I wanted to explore, like the Werewolf gang. This felt more like a novella.
A big highlight for me was that AA was the secret cover for a vampire support group. I particularly enjoy the vampirism-is-alcoholism comparison, recognizing it as an actual physical disease, that can only be fought against with support. I did wonder what the real alcoholics do to help their addiction.
Volume 1 means Volume 2 and for that I am glad. Darkness of the Spirit: (Twelve Stakes Book 2) is available on Amazon now, and according to Twelve Stakes website, A Devil of Your Own (Book Three), is coming soon.
“People think Alcoholics Anonymous is for drunks. It’s not. It’s for us, the real drinkers. The blood drinkers. All the rest of those meetings are just for show.” Los Angeles, 1948. Detective Jack Strayhorn is killed while chasing down a suspect in the Black Dahlia murders all by himself. Los Angeles, 2010. Jack Strayhorn is back in L.A. as a private investigator with a simple mission: catch the bad guys and try not to kill any innocent people along the way. To him and his kind, human blood is the strongest drug in the world. Fortunately for Jack, he found the secret group within AA dedicated to helping Vampires survive the madness and destruction of their disease. When a city councilmember with ties to a drug-dealing Fae clan is found dead in his home and the woman lying next to him is Jack’s current missing person’s case, tracking down the ghostlike hitman will test him like nothing before. But this time, Jack won’t be alone. With the help of his unique powers of investigation, his magically talented friends, and a Medical Examiner with a few secrets of her own, Jack will face down a gang of outlaw biker werewolves, spell-casting Fae high on pixie dust, and an underground order of Vampires intent on ruling the world. As Jack learned long ago, the only way to get through eternity is one death a time.