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.
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.
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.