We’re all familiar with the “real” vampire. Tall, elegant, arrogant, and rich. Someone who can command a room with a single glance, who drives expensive cars and makes the business world, mobsters, and politicians tremble. Or maybe they’re the lightning quick, lethal killing machines that lurk in the dark. But really, vampires — like the humans they once were — come in all shapes and sizes.
Some drive taxis, others work as cooks. Some like watching trash TV, some work in hospitals, sniffing out blood borne diseases better than any test. Tall and short, fat and thin, from all manner of backgrounds and lifestyles. And into this world comes V.A.M.P, the Vampire Agency for Mortal Professions, which keeps the denizens of the darkest night under control. They have only a few rules, but they have many eyes, many ears, and their fingers in many different pies.
In this anthology of 13 stories, we meet some of the men who live in this world, vampire and human alike. And I have to say, this is one of the best anthologies I’ve read in a long time. Normally, there are one or two standout stories and, well, to put it kindly, one or two that stand out in all the wrong ways. A great deal of credit goes to the editor of this book because each story here is so well chosen; they all feel harmonious with a quality of writing and characterization. Each story has a happily ever after, and while some are sweeter than others, they’re all cute and feel-good.
Whether it’s a good thing or not, I have no actual favorites because I enjoyed them all. The shared universe of the ever-watchful V.A.M.P. kept everything feeling grounded and connected, which made each story’s hints of world building just add more to the depth of the collection as a whole.
At nearly 500 pages it’s a nice, hefty read and, with all proceeds going to the WHO’s Cofid-19 Response Fund, it’s money well spent.