Review – The President’s Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth

“Every presidential assassination attempt since Lincoln has been carried out in broad daylight. Now you know why.”

There’s an occasional cleverness to The President’s Vampire, Christopher Farnsworth’s sequel to Blood Oath. Farnsworth draws firmly from American horror fiction, films, and conspiracy theories to populate his universe, lending it a cohesiveness that the previous book lacked. Even the writing style displays more care. Whereas in Blood Oath the creatures that stormed the White House were referred to simply as “creatures”, at least the Lovecraftian monsters in this installment have a name. It makes the perfunctory action sequences easier to follow.

Still, there’s no reason for this to be a book.

Over the course of 330 pages, it’s revealed that titular vampire Nathaniel Cade was responsible for killing Osama bin Laden (secretly a lizard man), hunting down John Wilkes Booth, and inadvertently bringing the real Oklahoma City bomber to justice. Contrary to what you may have read in other vampire stories– including Blood Oath– you can believe what you see in the movies, because everything from The Shadow Over Innsmouth to Gremlins was inspired by actual events. (This doesn’t make much sense, since the towns of Innsmouth and Kingston Falls presumably co-exist with those stories in this setting, but the reference to the latter was subtle and brought a grin to my face.) In fact, even Derek Flint, apparently America’s James Bond if I understand the reference correctly, plays a pivotal role in Cade’s exploits.

All of which would work as a clever episode of The Venture Bros. Or a thin premise for a comic book. Or a desperate pitch by a struggling screenwriter hoping to get Paul Bettany’s attention.

But as a novel? It’s just guilt without the pleasure.

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