cover image The Girls with Games of Blood

The Girls with Games of Blood

Alex Bledsoe, Tor, $14.99 paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2384-2

Bledsoe captures Tennessee's seamy side in this sordid, oppressive sequel to 2009's Blood Groove. Baron Rudolfo Vladimir Zginski stalks 1970s Memphis after 60 years in limbo. The unrepentantly racist, misogynist vampire sinks his fangs into a new obsession: a 1973 Mach I Mustang he buys from Zeb Crabtree, whose nubile white daughter, Clora, catches the eye of black vampire Leonardo Jones, Zginski's sidekick. Waitress Fauvette (an anti–Sookie Stackhouse) meets undead singer Patience Bolade at Zginski's club, the Ringside (an anti-Merlotte's), and tries to learn Patience's secret to surviving without drinking blood, while Prudence, Patience's estranged vampire sibling, hopes for vengeance over a love triangle with a Civil War colonel. Zginski rates as one of the genre's most repulsive protagonists, and Bledsoe's polished prose can't make up for the shock tactics he uses to propel the plot. (July)