I continue to troll the archives for old stuff on some favorite authors.
This exhausts my S. Andrew Swann material.
Raw Feed (1998): The Flesh, the Blood, and the Fire, S. A. Swiniarski, 1998.
I’ve very much enjoyed Swiniarski’s Moreau series and his Hostile Takeover series, both published under the pen name S. Andrew Swann. I’m normally not a fan of vampire novels, but I decided to read this one because of its author and an historical setting involving Cleveland’s notorious Torso Killer.
Surprisingly, given that he’s a Cleveland native and set two of this three Moreau books in Cleveland, I really didn’t get a sense of place from Swiniarski here or in his other Cleveland books. His characters are interesting and serviceable enough to interest one while reading but not real memorable. His real skill is plotting, and this novel is no exception. The story starts out quickly, and Swiniarski introduces many unexpected plot complications (as well as doing his usual fine job of suspenseful pacing), not the least of which is having main protagonist Stefan Ryzard succumb to vampire Melchior and become a vampire, later redeemed (at least until he kills Melchior in a suicide mission known to history as the East Ohio Gas Company explosion) by his Catholic faith.
The mystical details of vampire telepathy and thralldom are, as befitting a horror fantasy, rather vague though I liked the reasonable society of vampires utterly outclassed and destroyed (the rationale for the Torso Killer’s decapitations) by Melchior. The relationship between veteran detective Ryzard and new detective, Nuri Lapados went through many unexpected turns. I thought Swiniarski would kill off Nuri, but he didn’t. Nor did he save Ryzard from becoming a thrall to Melchior. I thought, when he went off to war, Nuri was gone for good (after helping to save Ryzard’s soul and I liked the idea of communion freeing him from Melchior by, in effect, substituting the power of Christ’s blood for Melchior. However, he returned to witness (but not really provide any aid) Ryzard’s killing of Melchior.