OR: Bad Blood

A review that originally appeared in Black Static #29:-

Released exclusively in e-book format, BAD BLOOD (Abaddon e-book, 135pp, £2.99) is the sequel to Chuck Wendig’s novel Double Dead, continuing the adventures of Coburn, a vampire who is trying to protect humans in a world ruled by zombies. This time around he’s in San Francisco, searching for a laboratory where it is rumoured that a cure for the zombie plague is being developed, but first Coburn has to deal with a super-zombie and feral tribes of various stripes, and of course secure a food supply, in all of which he is ‘assisted’ by Kayla, the girl who has taken up residence inside his head and helps to keep him on the straight and narrow, and her father Gil. It leads to the island prison of Alcatraz, and an encounter with the vampire who made him.

Simply put, Bad Blood is a blast, a fast paced, action fuelled story, with a novel slant on the whole vampire/zombie thing. Coburn is made special by the various qualities that differentiate him from others of his kind. Coburn’s relationship with humans, the way in which he always has to restrain himself, and the conversations with Kayla, all serve to make the character more empathic and suggest that he feels something akin to a sense of guilt for his past actions, but we are never allowed to forget that he is, essentially, a monster, and even while his aims might seem altruistic the motives behind them are not. And then, just when we think we know where we stand with Coburn, by way of contrast Wendig introduces the powerful and thoroughly amoral Blondie, a vampire who no longer feeds to survive but is a predator because he enjoys the thrill of the hunt and kill, the very apotheosis of what a vampire is supposed to be. Coburn’s resistance shows that there is hope for the character, however unlikely redemption may seem.

I thoroughly enjoyed this romp of a story, one that certainly delivers the thrills and spills we have come to expect of this subgenre, all served up in a no nonsense prose that is rich with attitude, but with a little more thought in the mix than usual. It was grand stuff.

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