Ok, so I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to reading, but it’s a rut I’m enjoying, so what am I gonna do about it, huh? Over the past few weeks, I’ve read several titles from Strangehouse Books, and I’m back with another one this week.
This time, it’s Kevin Strange’s book Vampire Guts in Nuke Town.
You’re probably thinking the same thing I thought when I saw the title.
“Oh no, not another vampire book.”
I almost didn’t buy it because of the vampire factor.
Vampires and zombies are two subjects I have little patience for these days. I’ve been suffering from undead overload for a long time now.
There were three things that swayed my opinion.
It didn’t look like the usual vampire novel.
There were no super-sexy vampires on the cover.
The slimy, tentacle-laden artwork on the cover of the book was anything but sexy, thanks to some great illustration work by Gabriel Wyse.
Then there was the element of it being set in a post-nuclear disaster world where all the rules have been changed was another draw to this title. Yeah, it’s been done before too, but this sounded different, and it lived up to my expectations.
Finally, the thing that convinced me to take a chance on it was the enjoyment i found in other Strangehouse Books i’ve read recently, those being Alien Smut Peddlers from the Future by Kent Hill and McHumans by Vampire Guts author Kevin Strange
Rather than me fumbling through a plot description, here’s what it says on Amazon about Vampire Guts in Nuke Town:
Guts is a bad motherfucker in a bad, bad world. The government nuked the sky ten years ago to combat a super fast spreading virus that turns humans into blood thirsty, ravenous killing machines that look more like giant, mutated bats than people. The new sky kills these “vampires” instantly, but at a cost. The entire planet is slammed with mega-high doses of radiation every time the sun comes up, completely changing life on earth as we know it, and completely decimating what little civilization there is left.
In Nuke Town, Guts wakes up in a strange motel with no memory of how he got there. A brother and sister duo are the only two humans in sight, but are they friend or foe? As the paranoia sets in, and Guts begins to understand the true implications of a nest of sophisticated, mutated vampires, he must use all the cunning and skills that his years in the wasteland have taught him if he hopes to survive the horror that awaits him in … VAMPIRE GUTS IN NUKETOWN!
Guts’s wife and children were taken out by ‘The Infestation’ of vampirism courtesy of the fallout that destroyed the planet. Now he’s just a bitter man looking to put a stop to the madness.
Guts is one of those badass characters who doesn’t allow any obstacle to stand in the way of his goal. He goes straight to the heart of this vampire thing and learns the dirty little secret behind it. He also learns how they just continue to keep coming out in seemingly larger numbers as time goes by. Guts also has a few secrets of his own that make him one of the best-qualified on the planet to put an end to this mess.
There are a lot of neat little characters and mutants in Vampire Guts in Nuke Town, that make it an original tale that kept me interested despite my lack of enthusiasm about vampire stories. I’m glad I gave it a chance, because it didn’t take long for me to realize it wasn’t the typical vampire story.
These vampires weren’t exactly the run-of-the-mill, supermarket-fiction vampires that dominate the genre. These fangers were more or less a new species of bloodsucking mutant incapable of surviving underneath the radiated sky during daylight hours. These vampires were different enough to make me forget my biases.
Then there is the issue of Pogs. These portly pests scavenge the land, but do so at their own risk because their blood is highly sought after for its psychoactive properties. Their blood dope is also quite addictive, as Guts finds out in his encounter with a couple of junkies who try to con him.
This book sat in my Kindle library for several months before I finally decided to read it. As I said, even after buying it, the word vampire kept me from jumping in with enthusiasm.
It turns out that was a mistake on my part. I liked Vampire Guts in Nuke Town much better than I did the previous Kevin Strange book I read, McHumans. That’s not a knock against McHumans either.
I don’t know whether it’s me or the material, but the characters in Vampire Guts in Nuke Town resonated more with me than the ones in McHumans. I was so into Guts’s journey, I had a hard time putting it down. That wasn’t the case with McHumans. It’s probably just me.
Whatever the case, just check it out some time, or take a look at some other Strangehouse Books titles. They haven’t disappointed yet.
In the meantime, though, why don’t you make it a point to read a fucking book or something.
Cover illustration by Gabriel Wyse