COLD STREETS

P. N. Elrod, Editor, Author
P. N. Elrod, Editor, Author . Ace $22.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-441-01009-7
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The ninth entry in Elrod's Vampire Files series offers clever characterization, wicked wit and palatable mayhem, played out on the chilly streets of 1938 Chicago (nicely evoked in Steve Stone's dark, wintry dust jacket art), six months after the action in Lady Crymsyn (2000). Vampire gumshoe Jack Fleming and his intrepid English partner, Escott, successfully rescue a kidnap victim, but find their heroics spoiled when it looks like the head kidnapper will get away with his nefarious deed. While bringing their socialite-psycho villain to justice, they also manage to become embroiled in a challenge to their gangster pal Gordy Weems's turf and to straighten out a love quadrangle involving Gordy, his radio actress girlfriend, Adelle Taylor, and her ex-husband and his new wife, Faustine Petrova, an exotic Russian ballerina with an accent thick enough to spread with caviar. Meanwhile, there's Jack's nightclub, the Lady Crymsyn, to run, with help from perky Bobbi Smythe, Jack's chanteuse girlfriend, and Myrna, the Crymsyn's resident ghost. Jack's powers of super-hypnosis and dematerialization are taxed beyond even his supernatural limits, and the latest audio technology, mob politics and a meat-house torture scene worthy of Wes Craven come into the picture before this entertaining detective romp is over. (Jan. 7)

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