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X-Rated Bloodsuckers    by Mario Acevedo order for
X-Rated Bloodsuckers
by Mario Acevedo
Order:  USA  Can
Rayo, 2007 (2007)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Since readers were first introduced to ex-GI Felix Gomez in The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, the once reluctant vampire has gotten over his aversion to drinking human blood, is honing his vamp skills and making a very decent living in the private investigation business. Human gumshoes might have to devise creative ways to get people to 'fess up to their sins, but as an undead guy with the ability to slam the unwary with his patented vampire stare, Felix can make anybody spill their guts.

When 'erotic film actress' Katz Meow walks into Felix's office and asks him to look into the murder of her colleague and best friend, Roxy Bronze, by 'humans who are in collusion with vampires', Felix is rattled. He'd prefer steering clear of out-of-town vampires - he's still getting a feel for his Denver nidus. But before he has a chance to refuse Katz's case, a winged messenger representing the Araneum (the worldwide organization that polices human and vampire interactions) sends Felix a recruitment offer. The fact that a couple of other agents have disappeared while investigating unsanctioned dealings with the LA nidus does not bode well for his success. However, having already dealt with the secretive Araneum, Felix knows that refusing them could be a lot more detrimental to his continued good health than tangling with a few greedy porn producers and land developers.

Once Felix arrives in the San Fernando Valley, he discovers that Katz has gone missing. His vampire intuition tells him she's likely been eliminated too. So, armed with only the few leads she's shared, he begins asking questions. Felix soon finds himself on the hit list of power hungry politicians, corrupt cops, a smooth talking evangelist, and renegade vampires. If not for the help of an irreverent five-hundred-year-old vampire named Coyote - whose weird talents alternately bedazzle or completely befuddle Felix - the dogged PI would have been turned to dust a few times over. Felix's investigation quickly goes beyond exposing Roxy Bronze's killers - he must also shut down LA vampires conspiring with humans.

While the plot's eventual payoff turns out to be rather pedestrian, it's Felix's sly and often darkly funny view of his undead life that makes the story shine. Witty exchanges with sidekick Coyote add substance. Acevedo sprinkles plenty of tried and true vampire clichés throughout, but puts enough of a twist on the more familiar ones to keep his story fresh and appealing. Great pacing, crisp, visual writing and a nice flair for capturing the hardboiled tone make X-Rated Blood Suckers a thoroughly engaging sequel, that will leave readers eager to tag along on the next Felix Gomez otherworldly investigation.

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