cover image So Thirsty

So Thirsty

Rachel Harrison. Berkley, $29 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-64254-2

The addictive latest from Harrison (Black Sheep) is by turns gory, rage-inducing, eerie, melancholy, and hopeful. For Sloane Parker’s 36th birthday, she heads out for a long weekend of celebration at a swanky resort in the Finger Lakes with her best friend, Naomi, hoping for a distraction from her husband’s infidelity and her anxiety about aging. But when risk-taker Naomi drags risk-averse Sloane to a house party with strangers they met in a bar, the night takes a sharp turn. The party turns out to be a vampiric orgy and to survive the night Sloane and Naomi must agree to transform into vampires themselves. It’s an unusual perspective from which to approach the vampire novel: that of a woman unhappy about aging being instead forced to live forever. There are some familiar elements—including the introduction of a brooding, moody male vampire love interest who regards Sloane as a captivating enigma; the question of animal blood as a more humane alternative to killing people; and the excruciating pain of transformation—but there’s also enough that feels fresh to render this a distinctive treatise on the transformational power of friendship, as Sloane and Naomi embark on this literally never-ending journey together. The result is a smart, scary, and occasionally sexy page-turner. (Sept.)