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Spotlight on: X-Rated Bloodsuckers by Mario Acevedo

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X-Rated Bloodsuckers by Mario Acevedo Mario Acevedo, X-Rated Bloodsuckers

A good title can do wonders for a book's sales. Once the book has been bought, however, the story has to be able to follow through on the implied promise. With a title like X-Rated Bloodsuckers, I expected that author Mario Acevedo would offer up a cornucopia of sex and violence along with the murder mystery that serves as a plot. Instead, what I got was a novel that couldn't even pass the hundred-pages test: after reading a hundred pages, I was not compelled to continue with the story. This is a review of those first hundred pages.

Felix Gomez is a vampire. He is also a private detective, and he has been hired by adult-film actress Katz Meow to find the murderer of her friend and frequent costar Roxy Bronze because she believes that vampires were involved. So Gomez must leave the comforts of his Denver home for a trip down the darker side of Hollywood.

X-Rated Bloodsuckers is primarily a murder mystery. Gomez spends much of the story asking questions of various characters, trying to use the gleaned information to discover the killer of Roxy Bronze. Unfortunately, the "mystery" is very thin, and what Acevedo wants his reader to focus on, in any case, are the vampires. As someone who has long tired of vampire cliches in fiction, this was not enough to hold my interest. It was a struggle to even reach page 100.

In a typical private-eye novel, the author spends a great deal of effort creating characters who are interesting enough to hold the reader's attention between revelations. Unfortunately, in the case of X-Rated Bloodsuckers, Acevedo seems to believe that a person's simply being a vampire — or a "chalice" (a human who hangs around vampires in hope of being turned into one), as the case may be — should be interesting enough. This leads to a succession of personages who are alike enough to be confusing. Or worse, simply are not worth reading about.

Acevedo's protagonist suffers worst of all. Gomez is a vampire who refuses to kill for his feedings, which leads to numerous descriptions of him putting bagged blood into coffee, soup, or whatever else he happens to be ingesting at the time, just to get along. While this is perhaps supposed to make him more relatable as a "hero," it instead makes him out to be the walking-undead version of Caspar Milquetoast. So, despite the potential of X-Rated Bloodsuckers (and, one presumes, its predecessor, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats) to be an edgy, sexy, lurid, bloody, fun, bold, and inventive read, what Mario Acevedo has instead delivered is simply yet another in the seemingly endless progression of pablum for the "average" reader (one who reads only three books a year). In the end, it comes down to this: if the title had not been so promising, the disappointment would not be so great.

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