David Lewis’ Bloodtrail is a book about a vampire who is trying to save vampires from their evil nature, and in so doing, save their victims: humans. To the vampires, and to the main character Casey until he got “clean” of not so much his blood addiction, but of his hunting live humans problem, humans are no more than heads of cattle.
Bloodtrail is not a mere anti-(human) hunting book, however. And it’s a hell of a lot more than a vampire book (not that I’m an expert on the genre). Bloodtrail is an innovative, genre-bending, medical-thriller with philosophical and romantic elements thrown into the mix. Were it not for this burbling concatenation of ingredients, I might well have shelved this novel because of its graphic, somewhat triggering and most definitely violent components–which is of course what you would expect of a book named Bloodtrail.
If you’re wondering if I liked this novel, that’s a hard question to answer. Let me tell you what I did like about it before I touch on my squeamish objections. Lewis is a master crasftsman. The characters breathe with complexity and realism; pulse with aching contradictions; and though they’re not really breathing, they really seem to come alive. And that’s not just because so many of them are vampires–it’s because Lewis tells a good yarn and creates believable men, women, and monsters.
The plot is fast-paced, and yet it pauses often enough to let the reader gather her wits. As awful as the main character Casey once was, and sometimes still is, I cared about him and every single 12 strands of DNA he has. That’s one of the twists this book has: vampires are genetically superior to humans, and may offer the key to curing some of the diseases, if not all, that bedevil our species. Sound cool? I thought so too.
And that’s how Bloodtrail is different. It explores scientific issues as well as philosophical ones. And yet it never runs off rails from a plotting standpoint. Indeed, Lewis weaves plot and deep concepts as tightly as his vampires’ aforementioned DNA strands.
Because it’s so well-written, fast-paced, and just plain fascinating, Bloodtrail gets five stars from me. On a personal level, I would like to caution abuse survivors and those who are sensitive to gore and violence. This is not easy reading for these audiences, respectively.
Review by E.L. Farris on behalf of Awesome Indies
This book has not yet received the AI Seal of Excellence as of 11/21/13.