Shadows on the Wall

The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant — Drew Hayes
Fred, the Vampire Accountant, book 1

The Utterly Uninteresting And Unadventurous Tales Of Fred The Vampire Accountant

2014’s The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant is the first volume of Drew Hayes’ Fred, the Vampire Accountant series. It is a fix-up urban fantasy novel. Or possibly a collection of linked stories, depending on how you look at it.

Transformed into an undead, Fredrick “Fred” Frankford Fletcher (accountant) has made the minimum necessary adjustments to existence as a vampire. He may work nights now, but he’s still an accountant and as exciting as a ledger. Boring in life, boring in undeath.

At least until the night of his high school reunion.



Krystal was a fellow high-school outcast, a pudgy nerd not even interesting enough to be a pariah. Ten years later, she’s fit, attractive, and still extremely snarky. It’s not until the werewolves attack that she reveals she’s also an agent for an organization whose mission it is to contain occult menaces. Good news for Fred, who disapproves of werewolves eating his former classmates, but who has no particular desire to personally intervene.

But … despite his prudent inclinations, Fred gives Krystal an assist in saving their former school chums. She’s cool with the whole vampire thing. There are lots of paranormal persons living in the US and most of them are regular folks. Her job only involves the bad ones. Law-abiding paranormal Americans aren’t her problem.

Fighting werewolves at the high school reunion was just the meet-cute the pair needed. Fred discovers that there are downsides to dating a hot secret agent; he keeps getting drawn into the two-fisted world that is monster-hunting in the 21st century. Not every supernatural menace is evil but they’re all pesky and it all to often falls to Fred to deal with them. Pro bono, which is even worse.

 ~oOo~

There have been at least two authors named Drew Hayes, Drew Hayes (1970–2007) and Drew Hayes (?–TBA). Fred was written by the one who is still alive.

As you might have guessed, Fred is a comic novel. This may present some difficulties for the review, as I am well known to possess no discernable sense of humor. Bear with me and I will do my best.

The book was published by Reuts Publications. Their ISFDB entry is woefully incomplete; their web page claims that they are a boutique publisher. Which may be a synonym for small press. I’m afraid that I was not impressed by their product. The novel reads like more like a collection of self-published stories than a professionally published book. For instance, in later stories in the volume, Fred supplies unnecessary backstory; earlier stories already supplied it. The plots are pretty formulaic.

On the plus side, very few of the supernatural beings Fred and Krystal encounter are bad as such. Some of the ones who are problematic can be steered back towards more productive lives. It’s a lot less Dirty Harry1 than one expects from American authors2. That’s a nice change of pace, if not enough to convince me to continue with the series.

The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant is available here (Amazon), here (Amazon.ca) and here (Chapters-Indigo).

1: Which probably means no crossovers with the Monster Hunter series any time soon.

2: The book’s entirely gratuitous swipe at France, on the other hand, fits stereotypes about US authors nicely.


Comments

  • Reuts Publications: You made me look. There is not a clear dividing line between a small press and an authors' collective, where authors join efforts on stuff like marketing and (if we are lucky) editing. The distinction I make is if there is a submissions process that includes the possibility of rejection.

    It looks to me like Reuts falls on the "small press" side of that line, but it isn't entirely clear. The price point of two bucks for an ebook looks a lot more like self-publishing. Once Amazon takes its cut, there isn't a whole lot left for a publisher to divide with the author. The twelve dollar paperback doesn't really tell us anything. Either way, it obviously is set up as a print-on-demand title. I expect the demand for this is very low, but it also doesn't cost much or take much effort to set up, so why not? This is consistent with both self-publishing and a small press.

    For whatever it is worth, it also looks like Reuts is somewhere between defunct and in abeyance. They aren't currently taking submissions, and the last entry in the blog is from over a year ago. Whatever sort of operation this is, whoever is running has gotten distracted and wandered off.

    As for the book, the concept is amusing, but it is all in the execution. I generally am willing to take a gander on books that cost less than a cup of coffee, but on the other hand life is short. I am constrained by time more than money. The Amazon reader reviews scared me off. Yes, they are overwhelmingly positive. And there are a lot of them--improbably many, in fact. This tells me that it was at best marketed to the self-publishing audience, who don't specialize in discrimination by literary merit. At worst, the reviews are fake. In any case, the negative reviews were persuasive. I don't mind the two bucks, but I do mind the time I would spend reading however much I read before most likely giving up.

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  • Dwight Williams

    Well, this seems just entertaining enough to get my attention...?

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  • Lynn

    You might like this also. Or not, our tastes are fairly different. A couple of total nerds get converted to vampires and perform good deeds (in a nerdish way). "Hard Day's Knight: The Black Knight Chronicles (Volume 1)" by John G. Hartness: https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Days-Knight-Black-Chronicles/dp/1611941679/

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  • Scott

    I've been enjoying the Fred books. Yes, they're not great, but I've found them to be amusing and fun popcorn reads.

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    • Ian York

      Me too. I picked up the first because I thought my kid my like it, but got the second and third because a little reading popcorn is nice to have on hand. They're hardly great literature, but the writing is acceptable to fine, the premise is mildly amusing and the author doesn't cheat on it, and the overall concept of a decent guy trying to solve his problems in decent ways, even though he's a vampire, holds up surprisingly well.

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