Saturday, June 29, 2019

Book Reviews: Known Devil

Known Devil
by Justin Gustanis
Although this is the third in a series, I didn't know that before starting the book. I don't think it made all that much difference. It's old hat nowadays to imagine a world in which magic and monsters exist side by side with all of the prosaic concerns and institutions of the real world. This story does imagine that and mixes in some timely political parodies as well, even though the book was written well before the current President was elected. The book's prose is, well you will have to decide this for yourself. This is how it opens and it's pretty consistent.
"I've never had a lot of of use for elves. In my experience they're lazy and dumb--nothing like those drones in the stories who supposedly work for the Fat Guy up north. I don't like elves, and elves with guns I like even less. And when those guns are pointed at me--well it's like that Mafia guy on TV used to say: fahgettaaboudit"
Stan Markowski is a detective in the Scranton PD's Occult Crimes Unit. His partner Karl Renfer (there are A LOT of tongue in cheek references to other horror movies and novels)is a vampire. Their job is to keep the peace between humans and supernaturals or supes, as well as prevent the more dangerous supes from acting up. Problems arise when the detectives learn that there is a new drug on the streets, one that gets supes addicted to it and willing to commit all sorts of crimes to get the drug Slide. Experts previously thought that with one or two exceptions, supes were immune to addiction.  
Meanwhile there's also a mob war heating up between two vampire Mafia families over the rights to distribute Slide. Behind the scenes a xenophobic and decidely anti-supe faction calling itself the Patriot Party is poised to Make America Great Again by winning elections and getting rid of supes, all of them. Stan and Karl have to get to the bottom of all of this while still working within the law and  working around Karl's inability to be active during the day. Stan's adult daughter Christine is also a vampire. Stan is a little taken aback that Karl and Christine seem to have a thing for each other. He's not sure that he likes that. And Stan's not sure if he doesn't like it because Karl is his partner or because Karl is a vampire or both. Few fathers want to get too deeply involved in trying to regulate or understand their daughter's romantic lives.

This was a quick read at just under 400 pages in paperback. I usually prefer stories where the vampires are unambiguous bad guys. That wasn't this story. But it was good light entertainment if you're looking for that sort of thing.
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