Have You Read?: This book really sucks … in a good way | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Have You Read?: This book really sucks … in a good way

Dan Thomas

“The Nymphos of Rocky Flats” by Mario Acevedo, Rayo HarperCollins paperback, 2006

Mario Acevedo’s got a premise that’ll grab you by the throat: His antihero, Felix Gomez, went to Iraq a soldier and came back a vampire.

That’s a significant amount of disbelief to suspend, especially with Acevedo – a helicopter pilot, infantryman and Desert Storm veteran – combining gritty details from the ground war with fantasy. But readers who can put up with the weirdness will find “The Nymphos of Rocky Flats,” the first vampire novel the federal government ever declassified, hard to put down.

The undead NCO is just the first thing to swallow: “Nymphos” manages to touch on mythology, Eastern spirituality, Area 51 and – yes – nymphomania, as well as tinker significantly with the vampire myth, before private investigator Gomez’s work at the defunct nuclear weapons plant in Colorado is done.

Acevedo’s bigfoot style – more Carl Hiaasen than Anne Rice – might not be for every taste, but how can a dude resist a book with “Nymphos” in the title? It’s way out there, but Acevedo doesn’t populate his world with vampires playing dress-up in Southern Gothic mansions: Felix is a bloodsucker with a lot of humanity and a job to do. The book is violent, and the humor’s dark, but not pitch-black – Acevedo certainly has a sense of whimsy about his prowling bloodsuckers.

“Nymphos” is the first installment in a cycle about Felix, and it’s out in paperback. Acevedo followed it with “X-Rated Blood Suckers” last year, and “The Undead Kama Sutra” is due out soon. The gimmick well could get old over a couple of books, but the momentum of “The Nymphos of Rocky Flats” makes for a fun ride to the nuke plant with the undead.

– Dan Thomas doesn’t own a television, reads voraciously and writes for Lake Tahoe Action.

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