2017’s So I Might Be a Vampire is the first volume in Rodney V. Smith’s Chasing the Sun series.
Vampires! Irresistible and sexy, self-confident aristocrats of the night!
Bob the vampire isn’t any of those things.
Once a member of the middle class, Bob’s bold lifestyle choices have left him working the night shift of a particularly seedyporn store and the recipient of a restraining order from his former girlfriend. It would be nice to think Bob has hit bottom but … to quote the late Malvina Reynolds:
There’s a low below the low you know.
You can’t imagine how far you can go down.
Vampires have standards which Bob does not meet. If vampires had self-control to match their arrogance, Bob would never have been turned into one of them. But Bob has the misfortune to know a vampire, who has a vampire friend with an irresistible urge for a midnight snack. Poor drained and dying Bob! Bob’s friend decides that rather than leave a hard-to-explain corpse (against vampire rules) it would make sense to save Bob by inducting him into the undead (against vampire rules because Bob is a loser and they did not get permission).
When Bob regains consciousness, he is one of the undead. An unauthorized undead.
While immensely displeased with the two idiots who turned Bob, local vampire boss Harry de Beis opts to treat Bob as a nominal victim in the affair. He is an unwanted complication who nevertheless will not be held responsible for existing. As long as Bob follows the Rules, Harry and his subordinates won’t tie Bob out to wait the rising sun.
Bob’s vampire friend and his co-conspirator are either dead or on the run so poor Bob has no one to show him the ropes. While vampirism confers advantages like enhanced speed, strength, and healing, as well as limited mind control, vampirism also comes with a powerful desire for human blood, a desire with which even the strong-willed struggle.
And Bob was an addict even before he was turned.
This is Bob’s story and he is an unreliable narrator. Not every encounter actually played out the way he initially claims. He is honest enough to grudgingly admit his embroideries later, when his adventures land him in yet more trouble.
While the vampires have pretensions of aristocracy, this text makes it clear that they are closer to supernaturally enhanced gangsters. Like the Kray Brothers(who inspired the forever famous Piranha Brothers ), vampires have a certain panache, a criminal charisma that attracts some of the rich and famous. Like the Kray Brothers, vampires are violent, impulsive and very easily offended. Which is why they have strict rules about killing humans; they need strict rules about killing humans if they are to survive as a group.
Bob is also a self-destructive, sexist asshole. That’s why he has that restraining order from his ex. That’s why one up-and-coming vampire declares a vendetta against Bob soon after meeting him. That’s why it takes so little time for Harry to lose patience with Bob and have him tossed off the roof of a four-story building1.
Despite his unfortunate tendencies, Bob manages to be endearing in a poorly-house-trained-puppy way, which is why Bob has a small but surprisingly loyal circle of friends and why Harry doesn’t just snip off Bob’s head off as if he were an errant dandelion. This is also why readers will want to read this to the end.
Vulgar but funny, So I Might Be a Vampire is a promising beginning to a new urban fantasy series.
1: Even a bullet to the forehead won’t kill Bob permanently, a detail of vampire biology that Bob puts to good use very early in his vampire career. The speed at which knowledge of nigh-invulnerability informs Bob’s poor life choices is impressive.