Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Declan Finn Presents Literary Vampire Tale Unique Enough to Override My Lack of Interest...LOL

She studied him a moment, this time
trying to read his mind. She was
coming up blank. "Do you realize
that you seem, hmm, different?"
October 15th, Manhattan 
Amanda opened the door to her apartment, and Marco watched her walk inside. He didn’t immediately follow. She stopped a little past the threshold and looked back over her shoulder. “Not coming?” He frowned in thought, as though being invited into a woman’s apartment was the first warning sign of some sort of trap. “You may come in. Don’t worry, I don’t bite.” She flashed him a smile. “Much.” 
Marco stepped forward, more at ease now with the invitation. “Yes, but you don’t know if I do.”
“I doubt it,” she answered. “Besides, I think I can handle you if I need to.”
The annoying thing was that she couldn't
tell what was off about him. He didn't
look unpleasant, smell strange, or make
any weird noises. In fact, Amanda noted
as she took the seat, he didn't do much
of anything...
He stepped further inside and took the room in with one glance. It was borderline spartan, with a couch and an armchair, the coffee table, a television and a computer. The whole living room was probably the length of a short yellow bus. “Nice place. Rather small for a family, isn’t it? ”
“There’s just me.” Her eyes flickered to the floor. “Only me. For a long time. I am a little older than I look.” 
“Ah, understood,” he said casually. “I’m guessing you don’t have many parties.” 
“Nor friends.” 
Marco blinked, then looked her over one more time before moving to examine a Van Gogh reproduction on the wall.  “Not bloody likely.”
“You’re sweet, but it’s true. Men are mostly interested in things other than friendship, and women are…”
 “Jealous?” he said, not looking away from the painting, still smiling. Ah, poor Vincent. If only someone had better stitches and found your ear in time, or had better psychoactive drugs… Amanda shrugged. “I suppose it is the easy answer, and the one best held onto.” 
Marco nodded, glancing around the place once more. “I find it interesting that you manage to hold onto a place on the Upper East Side while going to college, with no other means of support.” 

She gave a small, dismissive shrug. “As I said, I have money. I have a scholarship as well.”
“Ditto on the scholarship,” he said, moving away from Van Gogh’s Starry Night to a print of a Hubble telescope capture. “Though in my case, they weren’t certain which one to give me.”
“You are that smart?” she teased.
“I am multitalented. That’s an advantage of having useless trivia stuck up here.” He turned to face her, tapping his skull. “However, I’m not sure what I’m doing here. I came because I like you. Also, you’re one of the few people who will seem to tolerate my…”
She nodded, then nervously combed her fingers through her hair, trying to find anything to look at except Marco. “You are here for much the same reason. You are the first person I’ve brought home in a long time.” 
He gave a short, medieval little bow. “I’m honored. I assume that all this—bringing me here, taking me this much into your confidence, is because of my ‘let’s be friends’ lecture?”
“More or less.” 
“I must give that one more often. I’ve never had this reply before. Friends, then. Should be fun.”

Honor at Stake

By Declan Finn

I enjoyed Declan Finn's A Pius Man, A Pius Legacy, and A Pius Stand--the trilogy named to my 2013 Favorites--so much that I was willing to consider reading Finn again, even though I've lived through the vampire craze several times and am no longer really interested. But with a writer like Finn, I knew I could expect...more...and I got it!

Maybe he worries people
because he seems like
he's out of time and place,
she thought.
First we have romance and we watch two individuals who have been alone for quite some time, meet and become acquainted. As soon as I had learned more about Marco, I knew who I would have play him--since he is doing it already! If you are not already fans of Scorpion, well, I'm sorry for you. It is one of the best of the best in my opinion.
She slipped into the chair at her
computer, warmed it up, and typed
in a simple name. Marco
Catalano, Brooklyn...
She found
nothing. It was like he didn't
exist. How is that possible? In an
age when even cats have Facebook
pages, how can Marco not have
even a single mention online?
Where is he from? The Dark

So, of course, I picked his female lead as the main character, even if she is a vampire in Finn's story and is much older than Marco...LOL
Marco is a special brilliant man, but we don't really learn exactly what he's all about, except that he has a hard time with social interactions...Which was fine by me since I'm hoping there will be a sequel to the book. What we do know is that Marco cares about the people in his life and by caring, he's willing to risk much to help, or save them, when necessary...

And right now, there is a great need, since New York is being "infested" by vampires! And there is one main leader that is causing the problem!

But first, let me point out that Finn has included considerable historical information about vampire legends as well as, perhaps, his own newly developed "types" to fit his story. Interestingly, he also includes considerable information on the role of Physicians Assistants, by having Marco completing his formal training for the position. 

"So," she asked, "what is a Physician Assistant?"
The Marines of the medical profession," he replied. His smile was still frozen on eternal amusement, as though he believed her ignorance of his profession was more a joke than an offense. "We learn nearly everything that a doctor does in two years, rather than four of med school. We're writing prescriptions after we graduate with a master's degree, and, on average, making six figures within six years."

This is the first book I've read on this important position, especially since my new "doctor" has that as his official title. Finn certainly provides his readers with enough information to provide needed, perhaps new, recognition of this expanding medical professional role. This additional content greatly enhances the book well beyond the normal blood-seeking horror that most of us think of when vampires are main characters.

Amanda had walked into a classroom one day and immediate knew "something was off" and noticed Marco, mostly his looks, but later that he was "utterly controlled." Actually they seemed to get along right from the first and since they were both here for a Fencing class, they had something in common. Both exceptional--So much so that they were soon either going to be top of the class and helping young students or they'd just have to find someplace else to practice...

And as they got more acquainted, quite easily, Marco started sharing all that he knew about vampires...

"I'm a freak who reads too many books. I don't sleep with everything that has a skirt, especially since I go to school near Greenwich Village. I live in Brooklyn and don't sound like Tony Danza. I can go on forever...
"Don's worry. Those things do not make you freakish."
Marco looked at her hand on the shoulder for a longt moment. For a long moment, Amanda wondered if she had done something culturally objectionable, and then he rolled his eyes. "And don't worry, I'll be happy to be your friend."
"I find you attractive." He reached up and gave her hand a squeeze, gently lifting it from his shoulder. "I perceive signs of flirting, but I screw that up so often, it means you just want to be friends. That works for me."
Amanda said nothing for a moment. She realized she was staring at Marco again, more than she had at any other person before. He was also the first man in a very long time to get close to her and not try to get into her pants Most women in her position almost seemed inclined to take that lack of interest as a challenge. As though, if he didn't want her, she must make him want her.
In many ways, she was glad she wasn't most women. In the long run, his attitude was probably for the best anyway....

It was very interesting as Marco led philosophical and religious discussions about the history of vampires. I'll include just one:
"Crosses, for one thing. Do they work or not? If all vampires are evil, it makes sense if they do. If vampires aren't inherently evil, then there's something wrong with crosses as a blanket defense against them--surely God could recognize his own. Let's face it, if they were changed into a vampire unwillingly, is God honestly going to punish them for something they didn't choose? How badly, and how fast, does the sun destroy them, if it does...

Moving into the actual threat of vampires in the city was fairly standard. It is the discussion, the analysis and the investigation of how to deal with them that was so intriguing. That and the fact that Marco was an expert in Krav Maga and many other forms of self-defense. Then, when you add a small bite to the neck by Amanda and he gains the strength of her blood...and you've got an amazing fighting duo...

Oh yea, and since Marco considers himself the feudal lord of his area of Brooklyn and has enlisted two gangs to support him, later teaching them to fight the vampires...and on and on...you begin to see that Marco is the leader of "The Pack"  of quite a mixed group of vampire crime fighters!

Finn easily handles the fight scenes as required to handle vampires. In fact, he's handle this entire book in such an exciting, unusual fashion that I was totally fascinated. Except for the "vampire" villains, the book reads like a great thriller. All in all, I loved the book. Finn has jazzed up the story line sufficient to please readers of romance, thrillers and the horror fans who crave that blood-drinking stranger who attacks and destroys through one bite...LOL Actually, that doesn't happen according to this author's information...so plan on learning a lot if you're into the whole vampire lexicon.

Don't miss this one!


Declan Finn lives in a part of New York City unreachable by bus or subway. Who's Who has no record of him, his family, or his education. He has been trained in hand to hand combat and weapons at the most elite schools in Long Island, and figured out nine ways to kill with a pen when he was only fifteen. He escaped a free man from a PhD program in history, and has been on the run ever since. There was a brief incident where he was branded a terrorist, but only a court order can unseal those records, and really, why would you want to know? He is currently hard at work on the sequel to his vampire novel "Honor At Stake." His ramblings can be found over at The Catholic Geeks, while his rantings on writing can be found at apiusman.blogspot.com. For him to really rant and rave, check out his interview show at The Catholic Geek, over at Blog Talk Radio.

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