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Book Review

Book Cover

Angel of Vengeance


Author: Trevor O. Munson
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $9.95, Cdn $10.95
ISBN: 978 1 84856 855 6
Available 23 March 2011

Mick Angel earns a meagre living as a Los Angeles gumshoe. Always more at home in the seedier side of the city, he plies his trade under a watchful moon, because Angel isn’t just a private investigator, he is also a vampire...

Angel of Vengeance, written by Trevor O. Munson, was the basis for the cancelled television show Moonlight, also written by Munson. One can’t help wondering if Munson hadn’t watered down his original idea the show may have found more success. Fans of the show will discover much that is familiar, but they will also find a much darker premise here.

The book is an interesting mix of forties noir and vampire tale, having gagged on too many existentially challenged pretty boy vampire novels recently Angel comes as a breath of fresh air - think Humphrey Bogart with fangs. The book is written with a cutting cynicism and black humour.

Munson has caught the language and tone of noir perfectly; you can almost hear most of the book as a growling, cynical voiceover as it weaves a narrative which covers both Angel's past and his current investigation.

The book is structured very much like a noir film. Angel gets a call from a stripper whose sister has run away months before. The distraught Reesa Van Cleef spins him a tale and bungs him some money. As Angel undercover a story of rape, drug abuse and vampirism, the under belly of LA holds a much darker secret from out of Angel's own past.

Munson does play with the normal rules of vampirism, for a start Angel sleeps in a freezer to slow his bodies decay, here vampires have long lives, but are no means immortal, they can be hurt and even killed, though their lack of bodily sensation allows them to appear hyper strong. Angel can also enter houses, without being invited, though he cannot use any of his powers. It’s a necessary change given that a P.I. who can’t do a bit of breaking and entering would be pretty useless.

His need for blood is described in terms of an addiction and the language of addiction is used throughout the novel. This is okay, but you do get the feeling that in many parts of the novel that his need for blood could have been exchanged for any other drug and nothing would have been lost. Indeed, the vampire elements are often almost incidental, to what is otherwise a well-crafted detective novel.

For lost and lamenting fans it will be a great insight into the genesis for the show and what might be considered a missed opportunity. For fans of noir books, the novel is full of hookers, drug dealers all hiding in darkened bars and the lost foggy streets of the night.


Charles Packer

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