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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

The Vampire Virus

By Michael Romkey
Fawcett Gold Medal Books, 291 pp,1997

I did something with this book I have not done in ages. I read the whole thing in one day. I started it on a Saturday morning and finished it Saturday night. I can't remember the last time I did that.

It's not like I planted my butt in the couch all day. I got other stuff done. I worked around the house. Wrote some book reviews. Finished a first draft of a short story. Grilled steaks for dinner. Yet I somehow found time to read 291 pages. Go figure.

So why did I read this quickly? That's a good question. Maybe it was so good I couldn't put it down. Maybe the writing was excellent and flowed so well it was a pleasure to read. Maybe I read too much.

It's the latter two reasons, actually, because the book itself isn't that good. But Romkey is a good writer and I enjoy his style, so it was still an enjoyable read.

But about the book itself. It's his fourth vampire novel and only loosely tied to the previous three. There's no David Parker, no Mozart, no Medusa. Beethoven is in it, though. He's the only Illuminati vampire to make an appearance.

The plot is simple. A centuries-old vampire lives in the Central American rain forest, guarding over ancient ruins. This vampire owns a sprawling estate and employs local Indians to run it and serve his every need. An American archaeologist babe is killed by a mysterious virus when exploring the ruins, thus prompting another American CDC babe to investigate.

There are other characters, as well, too many in my opinion. The priest who is losing his faith (gosh, never encountered that character type in a horror novel before), a sorcerer type guy who hates the vampire and wants to kill him, and the owner of the only hotel in the nearby town.

That's all I can bear to describe, because the story is rife with inconsistencies and twists that make no sense.

It's not Romkey's best book, but I haven't given up on him yet. I plan to read the next one, The Vampire Hunter, if it's in my local library. If not, then it may be a while before I get to it, because I'm not sure I want to buy it.

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