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The Nymphos of Rocky Flats    by Mario Acevedo order for
Nymphos of Rocky Flats
by Mario Acevedo
Order:  USA  Can
Rayo, 2006 (2006)
Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

When a debut author comes up with an attention-grabbing title like The Nymphos of Rocky Flats AND manages to knock your socks off with his wonderful style, great characters, outrageous plot, crisp pacing and a tone that alternates between darkly tantalizing and boldly irreverent, it's time to rejoice.

Felix Gomez and his platoon are part of the Iraqi invasion. They are involved in an incident where they mistake an innocent family gathering food and water for fedayeen fighters. After the death of the young girl in the group leaves Felix wracked with horror and guilt, he wanders away from the kill site seeking death himself. Instead, he encounters an insightful old man who claims to be 'the damned son of Nadilla, the undead queen of the Tigress and Euphrates'. Rather than killing Felix, the old man changes him to a vampire. Afterwards he explains why: 'I've given you what you wanted. A punishment even worse than death. I've given you immortality. As a vampire'.

Fast forward a few years and Felix is back in the States, working as a private investigator - the perfect job for someone with his undead abilities. His only non-vampiric proclivity is his refusal to drink human blood. He heads to Denver at the request of old college buddy Gilbert Odin, who's an assistant manager with the Department of Energy. Odin explains that all the women working in a certain part of a top secret plutonium processing facility have been stricken by uncontrollable attacks of nymphomania. He wants Felix to poke around and find out how they were infected. Naturally Felix is intrigued and not just because his old buddy is offering him a nice sum of money to solve the puzzle.

Once Felix begins his investigation, he soon learns that Denver has a healthy vampire community, some of whom he befriends. They remind Felix that by not drinking human blood, he risks diluting or losing his powers - powers like the ability to cling to walls and ceilings. But Felix won't budge; it's part of his self-prescribed penance. Pretty soon he finds himself neck-deep in government cover-ups, amorous interviewees, shady hit men - as well as a trio of vampire hunters complete with Transylvanian accents, over-the-top religious fanaticism and all the paraphernalia required to dispatch vampires. And what's with Project Redlight and the strange shipments moving to and from Roswell under heavy guard? As if that were not enough to keep Felix chasing all over Denver, Wendy the sexy Dryad sets her sights on the PI the moment they meet - her particular agenda and ties to the Araneum (global underground vampire network) remain wonderfully elusive.

Congratulations to Mario Acevedo for putting such a nifty spin on his story and characters. His incorporation of tried and true vampire lore as well as a few of his own inventions keeps the vamp angle fresh and intriguing. The fact that the author is a former soldier allows him to paint a realistic picture of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and of the inner workings of the more secretive arms of the military. Blended together, all these aspects make The Nymphos of Rocky Flats a blast to read; I hope that Mr. Acevedo's got many more mysteries for Felix and Wendy to solve.

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