As a fan of Charles Phipps’ work and having thoroughly enjoyed book one of his Vampire based Urban Fantasy series “Straight Outta Fangton”, I couldn’t wait to delve in to the Advanced Reader Copy of Book 2.
Now as everyone knows, sequels are often hit or miss. Very often, writers and filmmakers will overuse the strengths of the first entry, and the sequel will come off as simply trying too hard. Often, the 'bigger is better' philosophy of sequels will do nothing more than strengthen a less is more argument.
100 Miles and Vampin’ is the epitome of the massive, pull out all the stops, cataclysmic, epic sequel. It’s bigger in every way than it’s predecessor, and it’s often ludicrously bombastic in its ambition as both a serious story and a comedy. It also just might be one of the most brilliant bits of insanity I’ve ever read.
Without spoilers, the novel once again focuses on Peter Stone, the down on his luck Vampire, now promoted to de-facto sheriff of the New Detroit vampire community, while still moonlighting at a convenience store. With him once again is his best friend David, now Zombified from proceedings in book one. This time around Peter’s creator Thoth sends the two on a mission to protect Rebecca Plum a popular Vampire Romance novelist (I’m not kidding) who has done wonders for human/vampire relations but is, in fact, a vampire herself and a serial killer nonetheless. This mission leads to a new relationship for Peter, this time with Yuki, Rebecca’s bodyguard and a shapeshifter, who’s backstory propels much of the novel’s emotional weight major plot points.
What entails in the book from the time we are introduced to Rebecca Plum, is a brilliant conglomeration of murder mystery, gangster tale, time travel adventure, and apocalyptic God war. We’re talking Gog and Magog against Vampiredom and all of humanity!
Sound confusing? At times it can be. There is a ton of lore in this book. Phipps expands Fangton’s world-building in a huge way, with new insight in to the histories of the characters and their relations to one another. That said, much of the confusion is simplified in hilarious dialogue sequences with David (think Randall from Clerks) being the perfect foil for explanation.
Aside from an increase in emotional intensity, with some genuinely touching moments, and heavy insight in to Phipps’ vampire world, Vampin’ also intensifies the violence, and includes many innuendos and depictions of the nastier sides of Vampiredom as well as more explicit sexual references. It’s definitely a dark R rated book, but it’s loaded with intelligent and hilarious dialogue which despite the often shocking depravity keeps an element of satire to the proceedings that make them easy to digest.
Phipps has written an extremely meta-textual, fourth-wall-breaking novel. Through Peter Stone, he hilariously pokes fun at the teen vampire romance novel phenomenon, at least one hundred popular films, and Fantasy fiction readers themselves. Most importantly with all the grandiose action, cinematic battles and gross-out humor, he manages to make us truly care for his characters.
I loved this book. Charles Phipps brings so much to the table here and he’s created a huge world and memorable characters and despite having loved book 1, this is a huge improvement. I can’t wait to find out what Phipps has in store for book three and the absolute coolest vampires in modern literature.
Review by Michael Gruneir
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