Tour’s Books Blog

March 6, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo

The lurid title of this first book in Mario Acevedo’s vampire detective series made me curious enough to give it a go. It kind of reminded me of the titles of Craig Shaw Gardner’s Cineverse series. This book, though, is an off-beat black humor, paranormal, noir-mystery. Acevedo has an unusual resume – an attack helicopter pilot in the first Gulf war, an engineer in civilian life, then an IT professional, then teaching art to prisoners and finally a published author. His off the wall stories are not for everyone. Take a bit of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, some of David Boreanaz’s Angel, and a dash of Terry Pratchett’s humor and Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe and you have this rather bizarre hybrid. Tough to be neutral about it and you’ll like it or it will leave wondering, “What the hell?” And oh yes, it isn’t XXX material. Actually, I’ve read his 3 books, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, X-Rated Bloodsuckers, and Undead Kama Sutra, in the series and none get much beyond PG-17 to maybe NC-17.

It’s the Second Gulf War and despite the president’s, “Mission Accomplished”, Sergeant Felix Gomez and his platoon at fighting fedayeen guerrillas south of Karbala. In the nighttime mission Gomez mistakes a 12 year old girl as the enemy and kills her while the platoon takes out the rest of her family. Gomez, stricken by what has happened, wanders off, inexorably drawn to a room with a man who asks what he wants. In his guilt, Gomez says he should be held accountable. Punishment is what he is given – he is made into a vampire.

Chapter 2 finds Felix, after a medical discharge, working as a PI in Denver. A request for help and $20,000 from an old college roommate and friend, Gilbert Odin, a manager at a government installation, send Felix to Rocky Flats Closure Project – formerly a nuclear weapons facility. Gilbert has a very unusual problem. An outbreak of nymphomania among female employees. Every man’s dream, right? Maybe not. In no time at all nymphomania becomes the least of the problems.

Now, the title might lead you to think that the nymphos play a major role, but you would be wrong. An array of mythical and paranormal creatures put in an appearance. Even aliens. You know – the flying saucer crowd. Not even Gilbert is who he seems – and why does he smell like cabbage?

The story moves at a fast pace, but some of it is aided by all these ‘vampire powers’ that Felix has which gets a bit irritating at times. Acevedo also tends to hit all the notes from X-Files while he’s at it. Not a whole lot of new ground here, but a moderately fun ride. The story is no match for the far more complete, realistic or tightly plotted stories of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Felix is a likable character and his first person narration has the kind of one-liners you’d expect from Robert B. Parker or Robert Crais. It’s the plots that need some work. In my opinion, X-Rated Bloodsuckers, about the porn industry, is better and I’d call it a C+ to B-. Undead Kama Sutra gives “Sexual Healing” a whole new meaning and it’s also a C. The fourth book just released, Jailbait Zombies, will determine if Acevedo has the right stuff to grow and improve as a writer from merely OK to really good. Certainly the potential is there and this series has a lot of promise if the plots tighten up and there are fewer ‘magical’ answers and more plausible ones.

My Grade: C

Who would enjoy this book: Fans of X-Files, Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV shows. Harry Dresden fans are doomed for disappointment.  The rating for this book is NC-17

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