Reading Straight Outta Fangton was a true experience. It just might be the most fun I've had reading a book in a long time.
I will preface this review by stating that I have been a fan of Charles Phipps' work since my first experience with his Supervillainy series which I devoured quickly. Very few authors can handle profound, political, action-packed, touching, and hilarious as well as Phipps. His characters are often cynical, and sarcastic but there is always a great deal of heart at the core of his work.
Fangton is classic Phipps. Despite the multitude of fourth wall breaking references to just about every literary and cinematic vampire you could have possibly digested in your lifetime, he somehow manages to invent his own rules and lore and make them the most badass of all!
Phipps is clearly a fan of indie cinema. Anyone that's ever loved the dialogue of Kevin Smith classics like Clerks, will find themselves laughing hysterically at his sharp dialogue and perfectly placed pop culture references. Characters like Peter a former soldier turned Vampire working at a convenience store, David, his friend and co-worker who desperately wants to be "turned", and Melissa, a newborn Vampire Peter stumbles upon that sets the tale in motion play off of each other with perfect comic timing.
It's often difficult not to imagine Fangton as a film, complete with its own stylish soundtrack. Much of the novel brings to mind classics like Oceans 11, Pulp Fiction and John Wick, with casinos, huge epic gun fights, slow motion acrobatics (with a classic John Woo reference), and characters on the gray end of the spectrum. Peter's creator Thoth, an ancient vampire responsible for the creation of New Detroit, a Vegas-inspired world controlled and run by Vampires is both despicable and sympathetic and could only be portrayed by Morgan Freeman. One of Phipps' finest creations.
Charles Phipps doesn't shy away from using tropes such as vampire hunters and anti-vampire politics to paint a larger picture with regards to racism and xenophobia, but with the humor, action and focus on high entertainment, the novel manages to feel profound and meaningful, while never preachy.
If you've never read a Phipps novel before, Straight Outta Fangton is a great place to start. You'll no doubt be hooked on his intelligent, quirky concepts and dialogue and will want to escape in to his many fantastical worlds. If you have read his novels but haven't gotten to this one then I have no doubt you're already addicted enough to get there eventually.
Review by Michael Gruneir
8.4/10 from 1 reviews
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