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Noir Paranormal Mystery Review: One Death at A Time by Thomas M. Hewlett

One Death At a Time by Thomas M. Hewlett (Twelve Stakes #1)

Ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
“People think Alcoholics Anonymous is for drunks. It’s not. It’s for us, the real drinkers. The blood drinkers. All the rest of those meetings are just for show.”

Los Angeles, 1948. Detective Jack Strayhorn is killed while chasing down a suspect in the Black Dahlia murders all by himself.

Los Angeles, 2010. Jack Strayhorn is back in L.A. as a private investigator with a simple mission: catch the bad guys and try not to kill any innocent people along the way.

To him and his kind, human blood is the strongest drug in the world. Fortunately for Jack, he found the secret group within AA dedicated to helping Vampires survive the madness and destruction of their disease.

When a city councilmember with ties to a drug-dealing Fae clan is found dead in his home and the woman lying next to him is Jack’s current missing person’s case, tracking down the ghostlike hitman will test him like nothing before.

But this time, Jack won’t be alone. With the help of his unique powers of investigation, his magically talented friends, and a Medical Examiner with a few secrets of her own, Jack will face down a gang of outlaw biker werewolves, spell-casting Fae high on pixie dust, and an underground order of Vampires intent on ruling the world.

As Jack learned long ago, the only way to get through eternity is one death a time.

Amazon kindle US($2.99)/UK(£1.92)


* * *
One Death at a Time reminded me of Celestial Blues series by Vicki Pettersson. It's got the same noir paranormal mystery vibe but at the same time it has unique twists in world-building that make it very memorable.

A tired, jaded PI Jack Strayhorn has been a vampire for almost a century, and qualifies his need for blood as an addiction. Apparently, every new vampire is like an alcoholic with all the perks of that condition - blackouts, rages, inability to function without a drink, etc., and unless a newbie is found by an older vamp and introduced into the program, they die really fast either by their own hand or in a massive police shoot out.

According to vampire mythology, Alcoholic Anonymous was created by a vamp, and it saved all of them. Now under the guise of AA each town has a group of vamps regularly meeting and supporting each other so as not to slide deeper into their addiction. Hence the tongue-in-cheek name of the series Twelve Stakes.

Jack has a strong voice, and we see the world and his investigation through his eyes and from his inner monologue. What starts as a simple case entangles him into a supernatural war and soon we can't escape Fae politicians and an MC of bad boys werewolves mixed with a new potent and a very destructive drug.

I really enjoyed the voice and the atmosphere of One Death at a Time, and hope to see more books in this series soon. Recommended!

* * *
Очень неплохой паранормальный детективчик нуар, который напомнил мне серию Викки Петтерссон Небесный Блюз своим настроем, хотя мифология и построение мира у автора свои, уникальные.

Частный детектив Джек Стрэйхорн - вампир, которому скоро перевалит за сотню, и свой вампиризм он рассматривает в том же духе, что и наркотическую или алкогольную зависимость. С жаждой крови он борется со своего превращения, и если нового вампира не найдет быстренько вампир с опытом, то новообращённые умирают очень быстро - между потерей сознания после каждой попойки и прихождением в себя рядом с горой тропов сойти с ума можно быстро, и большинство либо кончают с собой либо их расстреливает отряд ментов.

Именно поэтому программа Анонимные Алкоголики и была основана вампиром, чтобы дать его расе возможность выжить и остаться в тени. Под прикрытием АА вампиры встречаются в каждом городе и поддерживают друг друга морально и физически.

Кроме описания встреч, Джек, чей внутренний монолог циничен и саркастичен, описывает расследование, которым он занимается в настоящий момент. Простое дело об исчезновении чьей-то дочки в Голливуде оказывается паранормальной интригой, и между политиками-фэ и клубом байкеров-оборотней-гангстеров, распространяющих новый магический наркотик, а также древним Орденом вампиров, приказывающим Джеку не соваться куда не следует, бедный вампир только и успевает изворачиваться от попыток тех и других его укокошить.

Хороший детективчик, атмосферный и язвительный. Советую!
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