Rating: 5 stars
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I honestly do not know where to begin talking about Rob Rosen’s latest novel, VAMP. While it is a sequel to Queerwolf, it most certainly is also a fine stand-alone novel. But please, do yourself a real favor and read the first in the series, it is almost as hysterical as VAMP. And I really do mean, hysterical. One of Rob Rosen’s many gifts is his ability to do what I call the literary “double-take.” In a standard fair comedy, actors do a double turn of the head as if to say “what?” when something is so off kilter it is hilarious. Rosen’s main characters are so matter of fact that they are, well, a bit strange, and downright funny, to say the least. Hence, the “straight man” of the group leads us into one silly situation after another simply by being dumbfounded by the strange people he meets. So, let’s begin this review with a brief summary.
Jack Jackowski learns that he has a long distant cousin, Boris, who was recently impaled by a spear and who has left him a mansion, as well as a small fortune. Having arranged to meet his deceased cousin’s lawyer, Igor Bolinksi, who was also Boris’ manservant, at his cousin’s estate, Jack ventures forth unaware that his life is about to dramatically change. He arrives at the dusty old mausoleum of an estate and discovers things are just a little strange. Did I mention Igor has a hump? Odd, you say? Oh, don’t worry, it just gets better and better!!
Inside a seemingly indestructible coffin Jack finds in the basement is a note for him from his cousin instructing him to find and drink the contents of a vial he has left him. Oddly drawn to said vial and the casket itself, Jack finds himself downing the contents before he realizes what he is doing, which in turn sets off a generations’ old dormant genetic anomaly that turns him into a vampire. From there, he discovers that Boris was actually speared by a rival clan who are out to make sure that Jack becomes undead for real! However help is on its way! Enter the wolves from the previous novel, this time led by Steven.
You may recall that Steven was the alpha who challenged the Queerwolf and his unique little pack in a territorial dispute in the last story. Now in the midst of an uneasy truce, Jack’s plight calls forth two wolves from that same small group to help assist Steven. Mack (the cross dressing Barbara Streisand impersonator) and his boyfriend Ralph agree to help for a price. The catch? Jack must buy Mack a first rate set of…”tits.” Yes, you read that correctly. And, yes, we have just begun to scrape the surface of this incredibly humorous novel.
Without giving too much more of this novel away, I can tell you that Jack will discover he has more family in Poland and will end up bringing them to America for safety. As this ragtag group fights against the vicious opposing vampire clan, Jack will also begin to fall head over heels in lust, er, love, er, lust with Stephen. However, unlike Jack, the wolves are not immortal and as the danger escalates, Jack must decide whether to save his boyfriend or go it alone with only his cousins to help.
First, my synopsis does not do this novel justice. VAMP is not only hilarious, it was incredibly well written. It is packed with action, mystery, romance, and some incredibly clever characters. The chemistry between Stephen and Jack is magical. Never heavy or sappy, but laced with a healthy dose of lusty sex and tongue in cheek humor, you can not help but root for these two to survive and fall in love. Jack is really adorable. Often simply clueless, he allows Steven, Mack, and Ralph to guide him along and come up with one solution after another to battle the opposing clan. Unfortunately the clan is amazingly resilient and here is where the cousins come into play. Between the matching humpbacks on Igor’s parents, to the goiter on Cousin Gert, these strange characters are so well drawn that they seemed to spring off the page straight into your imagination. Add into this mix the stunningly attractive cousin Lothar who is used as man-bait on more than one occasion to draw the enemy out and you have a story that rockets along at a break neck speed that leaves you gasping with laughter.
VAMP is a stunning little comedy that manages to sneak in a sweet romance, which grabs your heart and never lets go. Author Rob Rosen has come into his own with this novel, solidifying his status as an author to watch. With this story, his future work became an auto-buy for this reviewer. I highly recommend VAMP by Rob Rosen to you! It is a five star read!