In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Marita Crandle, owner of Boutique du Vampyre in New Orleans, and Steven Foley put together the Vampyre Library Book Club. Each month, Steven would select a book, members would read it, and at the end of the month, Steven would interview the author and readers would have a chance to ask questions. I was honored that my novel Vampires of the Scarlet Order was one of the book club’s selections alongside such works as Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, Dracul by Dacre Stoker, and The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden. My wife and I participated in the club after my book was featured and I discovered a number of great books. As the COVID-19 pandemic began to wane and life began to return to normal, I wasn’t able to read every book. One of the books I missed was Some Girls Bite by Choe Neill. I finally had a chance to read the novel a few days ago.
Some Girls Bite tells the story of a University of Chicago graduate student, Merit, who falls victim to a rogue vampire attack. Fortunately, vampire Ethan Sullivan, the master of Chicago’s Cadogan House is on the rogue’s trail, finds Merit and makes her a vampire, thus saving her life. We soon learn that Merit wasn’t the first victim of the rogue vampire. A couple of nights earlier, the vampire attacked and killed another young woman. At issue is that the vampire houses only recently made themselves known to humans and they want to show that they can live alongside humans. The vampires in the houses don’t attack people. Most drink donated blood in bags and those who drink from people, only drink from willing donors. So, the rogue vampire’s actions are threatening to bring an angry mob of humans down on the vampires.
As the story progresses, we learn that Merit is the daughter of one of the richest businessmen in Chicago. Ethan Sullivan sees her as someone who might help him maintain and hold a position of trust among humans. What’s more, Merit’s grandfather is a retired police officer who has taken the job of ombudsman between the Chicago’s supernatural and human communities. Vampires aren’t the only supernatural creatures who have been hiding in the shadows. There are also sorcerers, water nymphs, lycanthropes, and more. Still, vampires are the only ones who are known to most humans. Merit, though, doesn’t appreciate being a pawn in this developing saga of vampire human relations. She also resents being made a vampire against her will, even though it may have been the only thing that saved her life. Fortunately, after becoming a vampire, Merit has developed skills that allow her to find an important position of her own in House Cadogan.
As Merit navigates her way through her family relationships and the relationships with the vampires in her life, she learns about the vampire houses and how each one maneuvers to gain advantages over the others. Of course, now that the vampires are known to exist, they are playing politics in the human world as well. I’ve long found it interesting to consider how humans would interact with a non-human, intelligent species living in their world. Vampires make an especially interesting case, since they’re predators. Even though they’re predators, it would be a bad idea for vampires to destroy all of humankind. After all, that would destroy their food source. Whether vampires are known to humans in general or not, vampires would have to find a way to live in a world dominated by humans. I thought Chloe Neill presented an interesting vampire culture and presented ways they can be both clever and foolhardy when dealing with the humans around them.
As I write this, I’m settling in to edit my new vampire novel Ordeal of the Scarlet Order. My vampires live in secret, but they still have to live in a world dominated by humans. I’ve been having fun exploring how that works in this novel. I’ve been posting updates about the novel at my Patreon site, including a sneak peak of the cover, which has already been created by the talented Chaz Kemp. Also, my Patreon site helps to support this blog and keep it ad free. If you find value in my reviews and comments here, please consider supporting me there. What’s more, you can now join free for a week and take a peek behind the scenes before committing to being a regular patron. Why not go over and take a look at https://www.patreon.com/davidleesummers? I’ve shared several of my novels as I’ve edited them for new editions and I also plan to share Ordeal of the Scarlet Order as I get it ready for publication. Joining up would be a way to be among the very first readers and I’d love to hear your feedback!