When is a vampire story not a vampire story?
When it’s an “on the road” coming of age story that simply happens to feature vampires as the main characters.
In Night Road, A.M. Jenkins turns the vampire genre on its head by writing a close-knit character piece focusing on three vampires – two relatively old (and that’s in vampire years) and one relatively new, even though they all look pretty much like teen guys. They also act like teen guys in some ways, driving around the country on a road trip, stopping each night in cheap hotels and bars where the old guys teach the new vampire how to feed on humans without attracting attention.
While training newbie vamp Gordo on the ins and outs of being a vampire, senior vamp Cole is forced to face a lot of his own demons (no pun intended … well, maybe a little bit). He realizes the tight control and composed facade he has spent many years creating is just that – a facade. He’s no more in control than a young new vampire in many ways, and is liable to get himself into trouble if he doesn’t come to terms with things he’s done in his past.
He learns to appreciate friendship and the importance of being a part of his true community when circumstances spiral out of his control and he finds himself at the mercy of demons, both real and psychological.
The writing style is clean and sparse. The characters are easy to relate to – more human in some ways than real human characters.
Even if you don’t like paranormal or vampire books, you might want to think about reading this. It’s more about coming to terms with our pasts and who we truly are than on demonic creatures.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this one up and I’m so glad I read it.