Verdict: Franklin Posner’s SUBURBAN VAMPIRE is an entertaining, if flawed, pastiche of the modern vampire-as-action-hero story.
Scott Campbell is a mild mannered, milquetoast, church-attending IT technician, slowly cruising his way to a somewhat overweight middle age from the comfort of his mother’s house, where he now lives after his recent divorce. That is, until the psychotic, leather-clad Jack transforms him into a vampire. Scott soon finds himself flung headlong into a deadly world of vampiric politics, intrigue and prophecy, even as he struggles between his desire to remain a normal, inoffensive person and the power and bloodlust his new identity brings.
Franklin Posner’s SUBURBAN VAMPIRE is an entertaining, if flawed, pastiche of the modern vampire-as-action-hero story. Unfortunately, there is quite a tonal problem for much of the book, as Posner seems unwilling to fully commit to the central joke and frequently indulges in pure power fantasy; Scott nearly breaking the hand of his ex-wife’s new partner being an obvious example. When Posner also tries to introduce the pathos of Scott, a church-going Christian, wondering if God will still love him, it becomes more than the reader can really take. If the comedy, pathos and power-fantasy were blended more skillfully the mixture might work, but here it feels like Posner is just trying to do too much. It also does not help that although Scott’s intrinsic goodness is what sets him apart, Posner occasionally confuses simply being quiet and bland with actually being a good person which means Scott can often seem less likeable than he is clearly supposed to be.
Despite these, and other flaws – Posner’s depiction of women is pretty poor, generally relying on cliches or sexualized descriptions – there are some great parts to the book. Indeed, it is tempting to wonder what Posner would have produced if he had just tried to write a straightforward action-adventure vampire novel. Certainly, the sections of vampire politics, warring factions and explosive Matrix-style sword and gun battles are by far the most enjoyable. Likewise, some of the most interesting characters are his more traditional vampires, particularly the murderous, Southern-accented Jack and the wan, mysterious Father. Then there is the Inquisitor, Allan, a red haired, abrasive Scottish vampire, who is simultaneously entirely out of place in the novel, and easily my favorite part of it.
~Ben Miller-Jarvest for IndieReader