Book Review: The President’s Vampire by Chrisopher Farnsworth

Hi again!

Have you ever wondered what’s at the root of some of those bizarre myths and legends you’ve read about in school or in popular fiction? It sometimes seems as though there may have been supernatural creatures and strange events down through the ages. But all those gods, monsters, ghosts and aliens are just stories, right?

But then again, what if they’re not? That brings into question everything we know as adults and doubts begin creeping in where they’re really not wanted. Paranoia sets in and soon we’re looking deeper into shadows to make sure there’s nothing there and the boogie men aren’t coming to get us.

In Blood Oath, Christopher Farnsworth introduced us to Nathaniel Cade. For more than 140 years, he’s been attached to the office of the President of the United States, protecting the nation against supernatural threats other agencies can’t hope to deal with. What makes Cade perfect for the job beyond his longevity? Well, he’s a vampire for one. And two, he swore a blood oath to the office of the President at the hands of a Voodoo priestess. He is compelled to fulfill his oath through thick and thin unless released by his death or the United States no longer exists.

We were introduced to Cade through his new handler Zach Burrows in the first book. Poor Zach was put through the wringer a few times, but managed to always creatively come through in the end. Either that or Cade has to save his bacon.

I loved Blood Oath – it presented a vampire story with deep roots in U.S. history and a style that was more 24 than Twilight. Beneath the surface of the world we live in is another world teeming with people, monsters, and worse – seeking to destroy us, eat us, or make us slaves. And personally I’m not too keen on any of those options.

Now Farnsworth is back with another tale of Nathaniel Cade saving the world in The President’s Vampire. And once again we catch glimpses of that secret supernatural history of the world behind the scenes. This time there’s some politics involved and shadow agencies devoted to reforming mankind for their own nefarious purposes. Can Cade stop them? Only time will tell. And of course, it’s not just humans causing trouble. There are monsters involved as well, but I’ll try not to spoil the fun too much.

I do have to provide a bit of a hint to a few people. Does the name “Innsmouth” mean anything to you? I thought it might.

Beyond the creatures in the book, I will say Farnsworth has also managed to slip in some great historical tidbits. Some related to 9/11, some earlier, like John Wilkes Booth, but each time one of these juicy tidbits from history came up, I nearly giggled out loud with glee. There’s just something more tangible about Cade simply because he’s walked the halls of a century and a half of history and survived.

My one criticism of the book is the opening. The first couple of chapters left me feeling a bit perplexed, wondering if Farnsworth had lost his touch. However, once things get rolling, there’s no stopping them. The President’s Vampire starts with a few tentative nibbles and then sinks its teeth into your jugular vein until it’s done. This was another book I could hardly bear to put down until I was done.

I can only wonder what’s next for Cade and Burrows. Can they continue to survive the battle between politics and the dark malevolent forces threatening the United States every moment? Only time will tell. But something tells me Cade will find a way to survive anything short of a nuclear bomb going off in his face.

If you like your thrillers with a bit of bite, look no further than The President’s Vampire that was just released this week. And if you haven’t read Blood Oath already, I’d encourage you to do so. These two books together will make a powerful one-two punch!

For more information about Christopher Farnsworth and his books, be sure to check out his website at ChrisFarnsworth.com. The partial chronology of events in Nathaniel Cade’s world is definitely worth checking out!

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up these books below!

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Blu-ray Review: Monsters

Welcome!

Ever since I was a kid watching Saturday afternoon monster movie marathons, I have loved monster movies. All the Godzilla movies, The Blob (the original), War of the Worlds (the original), The Fly (the original)… left a bit of DNA as they oozed through my brain.

So when I saw that there was a movie simply called Monsters and saw that it was getting great reviews from places like Ain’t It Cool News, I figured I had to add it to my watch list. Recently I had an opportunity to purchase a copy of the film on Blu-ray, so I did. What I found had the potential to be great, but turned out to be mediocre.

The plot revolves around a NASA probe that found evidence of alien life and crashed upon reentry back on Earth. Landing somewhere in the heart of Mexico, whatever the probe brought back starts to infect an entire area as giant aliens start popping up to destroy things. As with the illegal alien issue along the US/Mexico border right now, the US and other countries in the southern part of North America begin to build walls to keep the critters out and send their militaries in to destroy the ones that get through.

So far so good. It’s your basic monster movie plot. Aliens land and try to take over. I didn’t even mind meeting Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) and Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able). Kaulder is a photographer for some big news outlet owned by Samantha’s father. When the boss calls to tell him to make sure his daughter gets back to the United States before the borders close, Kaulder isn’t pleased but does the job anyway. Unfortunately, things keep going wrong and they end up traveling through the infected zone to get home. Will the monsters eat them or let them through?

Well… Here’s my problem. There are monsters. And they crop up now and then. But there aren’t enough of them. And when they do show up in force they either want to destroy buildings and vehicles or they want to make love. For the majority of the middle of the film, it’s about the couple trying to find a way to get back to the States. They go through one crisis after another and do eventually find their way home, but for what?

The big payoff for this film was seeing two towering aliens making rainbow love to each other over a deserted gas station. Yippee. I wanted more monsters, less traveling Heart of Darkness style to get to the ultimate conclusion that the aliens just want to be left alone. I wish somebody had told me to leave this movie alone. It was 94 minutes I’m not getting back.

Maybe it’s that I was hopped up on cold medicine while I was watching it, but I probably would have walked out had I seen it in the theater. Or perhaps slept through it. As it was, I finished the movie and didn’t really feel like watching the extras. I just went to bed.

If you have 90 minutes to spare for a road trip movie without much action or drama (except for a few brief battles between aliens and people), I’d recommend you Redbox this or watch it On Demand, but don’t spend much money on it.

–Fitz

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Syfy Sanctuary Sneak Peek – “Firewall”

I’m behind already on this season of Sanctuary but find the world of Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping), Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne), Henry (Ryan Robbins), Bigfoot (Christopher Heyerdahl), and Kate (Agam Darshi) to be full of intrigue.

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The world is full of creatures and monsters and networks of people who want to save them from themselves or others and other people who want to enslave them or destroy them… It in some ways mirrors our own concerns with the environment over the last 100 years. There are those of us who want to save species endangered by our activities and some who simply are in it for the money – or worse – feel the need to destroy the things they don’t and can’t understand.

For some reason probably stemming to his experiences late last season, Will is falling asleep on the job – and evidently that’s causing some problems.

Check it out on SyFy on Fridays at 10/9C!

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