by Michael F. Haspil
Review by Mel Jacob
Tor Books Hardcover / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765379627
Date: 18 July 2017 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Graveyard Shift by Michael Haspil is an interesting read for lovers of vampires. A medical discovery of a blood product makes it possible for vampires to live without killing or using human hosts. However, someone is poisoning the commercial products. Alex Romer (Menkaure, the ghost of a dead pharaoh) and Marcus (a Roman vampire) serve as elite police focused on vampires and shape shifters. They must find and stop the vampire killings to end the ensuing violence. Neither of them realizes that they may also become targets.
Gifted or cursed with great longevity and unusual powers, Alex and Marcus once worked for a secret government agency but are now part of the Miami Police Force Nocturn Unit that deals with creatures with special powers. Presently, they are on the watch for a gang that targets vampires.
When a young vampire who resembles the head of a powerful vampire organization is found dead, suspicion falls on a man called Abraham and his cohorts. He has identified himself as an enemy of vampires. Plenty of people confess to being him, but none fit the specific details of the murder.
Part of Alex and Marcus's activities is to keep new vampires from killing humans and going feral. Apparently, the tainted blood sets off a reaction that sends the vampire into the feral stage. If not stopped, the feral can bite a human turning them into a vampire.
The action comes fast and furious and gives the two officers little time to recuperate. Alex takes his power from the sun, while Marcus hides from sunlight and functions best at night. The two complement one another, but also have their own secrets.
A snitch, who delivers blood and other things to various establishments, provides a lead to a private club for vampires where he has seen packets of the tainted blood. When Marcus visits the private club, he detects the presence of a powerful Ancient who warns him off.
A report of a shapeshifter on the loose draws Alex and Marcus. As they investigate, they discover a scene of carnage and cages filled with people. They were being tortured, their blood drained, and then their flesh was butchered like cattle.
With the private club as the source of the tainted blood, Alex and Marcus are determined to close it. However, the Ancient proves stronger than anticipated and chaos ensues. Both Alex and Marcus come under attack and risk their survival.
Haspil uses multiple characters to tell the story, but the use of a dead pharaoh as a cop may be a first. In some ways, the high-stakes ending is predictable but provides surprises as well. Hopefully, more adventures of Alex and Marcus will be in the offing or another novel filled with his inventive images.