Susan Blexrud‘s vampires are not the cool, calculating, history-drenched demons of Anne Rice lore. Blexrud’s vampires (“vamps,” they casually call themselves) like couture design. They fly first class, wear designer sunglasses and mingle with their warm-blooded neighbors. They date, hold jobs and raise families.
But one point on which Blexrud and Rice would agree is that Vampires — especially those in the erotica-tinged Love Fang are sexy beasts. The male vamps tend to favor bikini briefs (in case you were wondering) and have plenty of prowess in the bedroom — convenient since they mate for life.
Fang is actually a collection of four novels arranged around the courtship and romance of 500 year-old vampire John Wright and 30 year-old dentist Lauren Marsh. Both live in Orlando (an unlikely place for Vampires, what with the theme parks and sunshine, but Blexrud’s characters make use of cloudy days and sunscreen) where John moonlights as the “Vampire Vigilante,” feeding on hardened criminals and thus assisting the police force. When John’s fang becomes infected, his assistant — a Harley-riding grandmother named Doreen — books him an appointment with Lauren, the only Orlando dentist with night hours. Their mutual attraction is immediate, though Lauren’s hygienist, Rosetta, is alarmed.
“‘There are no such things as vampires,’ Lauren said, ‘Mr. Wright is a lawyer with long incisors. It’s not uncommon in his profession.’ She registered a look of panic on her hygienist’s face. ‘Lighten up, Rosetta. That was a joke,’” Blexrud writes.
Soon Lauren and John are inseparable, their fates joined when John turns Lauren into a vampire. The two are then faced with eliminating John’s sworn enemy, a vampire named Amy, who is rearing her own army of teen-aged vamps in London.
While the story line is, at times, downright silly, Fang is an addictive read. There’s enough suspense to maintain a brisk pace and enough steamy scenes to keep things interesting. Readers who prefer their literature to be dense, socially-important and intellectually-challenging are not the right audience for Fang, but add this one to your beach reading list or tuck into your carryon for a long flight. Lots of energy, fun characters, contemporary fantasy and highly likable vampires with interests in public service: That’s what Fang is all about.
Susan Blexrud discusses writing about vampires at an author event at Barnes & Noble (Town Square at Biltmore Park, 33 Town Square Blvd., Suite 100, Asheville, 687-0681). Tuesday, June 29, 9 p.m. Afterwards, Regal Cinemas in Biltmore Town Square will debut Eclipse, the third film in the Twilight Saga, at midnight.