The Cross

The Cross    by Scott G. Mariani

This is a vampire tale like so many that exist out there in the dark and murky world of the parasitic blood-sucker. They could have called it the House of Lords.

Although the second in a series, The Cross can be read as a stand-alone book (as I read it), but be warned, when you get into these stories they can become a tad addictive.

British detective, Joel Solomon, wakes in the snowy wilds of Romania and discovers that he is now a freakin’  member of the undead. His great love, Alex, who is an agent with the Vampire Federation, turned him to save his dying ass. Joel doesn’t care as he is pissed off with being a vamp. It’s hard to feel sorry for him as he was in love with a vampire after all. It’s not like there was much of a future in it. If Joel had read any of the multitude of novels that exist in this genre, then he would have known how he would end up. Visit the fuckin’ library, Joel, educate yourself.

 

Gabriel Stone (real name is probably Cedric Fletcher) is the villain of the piece. Stone is also a vampire at war with the Federation and is determined to succeed in his stated aim of destroying the fascist vamp organisation.

To complicate matters, we learn of the existence of the Ubervampyr, a race of Nosferatu who have remained hidden for millennia and yet choose this time to try to attain global dominance. Rebel Voice wonders why the Ubervamps didn’t try for total control back when all they had to contend with was bows and arrows. But no, smart and all as they are, these highly evolved creatures wait until there are jet-fighters, grenades, assault rifles, missiles, attack helicopters and nuclear weapons, before they begin their push for global domination. Seriously… what a bunch of vampire idiots. They deserve to lose.

The plot of The Cross is entertaining enough, if old hat at this time. It has elements of True Blood in it, as well as drawing heavily from Underworld and Buffy. Alex the Federation agent is a beautiful and dangerous vampire with a heart not made entirely of ice, just like Selene in Underworld. We have the usual vampire politicking as seen in all the recent takes on the genre. We get reminders of Blade in places. We also get Romania, again.

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As Joel returns to England in search of Alex, Alex is on the hunt for Gabriel Stone and the powerful Cross of Ardaich which can destroy all vampires in a wide vicinity. I think you can buy these crosses now on Amazon at £12.99 with free shipping on purchases over £20. Buy two to be safe and save money.

Gabriel Stone has enlisted the services of a crazed human serial killer named Ash (real name probably George Squeedlepipe) to assist in retrieving the Cross of Ardaich from the father of Chloe, a pretty young skier who discovered it whilst in Romania. Throw in Dec Madden who I presume to be Irish, given his language, but who lives in England with his family (I expect this was explained in the first installment) and you have all the makings of a blood sucking romp across Europe involving both humans and the undead.

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(Buffy The Vampire Slayer cast reunion. No Vampire hunting has really helped some cast members to pile on the pounds. I think the vamps are much safer now…)

There is gore galore. There are fast cars, faster women, even faster quips. Ice cities, luxury chalets and goblinesque creatures bouncing around all over the damned place. There is a lot going on but sadly it is all too predictable. Still, for those who enjoy vampire fables, The Cross should hold your attention long enough to finish the book. This is not the best vampire story you will ever read. It’s not the worst either.

The depictions of death and bloodshed are messy at times but not over the top. The characters, however, although likeable for the most part, are fairly wooden. There is little depth given to each. This has the effect of making the book feel like a children’s story aimed at adults. As soon as I read this book I almost entirely forgot it. It’s that kind of book. I will read the next in the series if it lands on my lap, but I won’t actively seek it out.

I have a feeling that the vampires are running out of steam in literature as they have been done to death -no pun intended. Zombies appear to be much more fashionable these days, for a while longer at least. I expect that there will be a Zombies versus Vampires book and movie out soon. I wonder what will come after we tire of Zombies? Lunatic AI, most likely.

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Sult scale rating: 6 out of 10. Just OK and not too offensive to those who find the idea of drinking blood sexy (think of the morning breath folks…).