Jules Duchon has returned, sort of. Andrew Fox’s new novel, Bride of the Fat White Vampire picks up directly after the events of his previous novel Fat White Vampire Blues. Though the events of the previous novel tie quite heavily into the opening of Bride, Fox intertwines enough back-story of the previous novel to allow new readers to pick up Bride quite easily. Infused with humor, this supernatural mystery is an entertaining romp chronicling Jules quest for a culprit and his true love.
Due to his relationship with Doodlebug, Jules has been thrust into the role of Private Dick, hired by the High Krewe of Vlad Tepes, the upper echelon of Vampire society in New Orleans. The Krewe keep to themselves, think it below their stature to intermingle with those they deem lesser vampires, let alone human beings. Word of Jules encounter with the black vampires, as told in Fat White Vampire Blues traveled to the ears of the Krewe, they were both impressed by his accomplishment and consider him somewhat expendable. Doodlebug runs a church-like group in California, which to attain higher status, requires donation of blood-Doodlebug has his blood supply. Unfortunately, he started the church with financial backing from the Krewe. The Krewe, being the omniscient powerful group they are, is quite aware of Jules and Doodlebug’s relationship, and it is through this convoluted relationship that brings Jules to the employ of the Krewe. Jules is brought into the inner sanctum of the Krewe to investigate the mysterious, brutal mutilation of the younger members of its Vampire brotherhood.
Complicating matters even further, is the fact that the same mutilators have seemingly killed two black reverends. In his quest to determine the identity of the vampire mutilator, Jules enters the stronghold of the black vampires, the same clan he clashed with in the previous novel. They are less than happy to see Jules, but do provide an unwilling partner in Preston, to begin to work with him to solve the mystery, and hopefully avoid an all out vampire war between the Krewe and the black vampires.
During the course of Jules’ journey, in addition to partnering with Preston, he forges quite a few alliances, one of Doodlebug’s parishioners, Courane L’Enfant – the goth-cajun-metal artist looking to revitalize New Orleans, more of the Krewe, while he also continues his relationships from the past novel. Relationships are a big part of this book, from Jules and Doodlebug, to the looming conflict between the Krewe and Black Vampires, to Jules relationship with humans. While it was touched upon in the previous novel, Fox explores the relationship between “blood-parent” and “blood-child;” that is between vampire and the vampire who created him/her, in a more satisfactory fashion. Jules brought Doodlebug into the undead life and Jules reflects on this throughout the novel. Even more so, he reflects on his odd relationship as both son and lover to Maureen, the vampire stripper who brought Jules into Undead life. One of the better scenes in the book was when Jules tried to create a makeshift vampire family tree in his head, trying to determine how far-reaching his blood ties are.
While the unique and charming characters he has created is one of Fox’s strongest and most admirable traits, his ability to present a rather refreshing vampire mythology is welcome and satisfying. Much of what he presents, he does so in a logical manner, much in the same way Fox presented logical extensions of what we “know” as vampire myth in his previous novel. While he does not explain everything about the history of vampires, at least not yet, he plays with the conventions of the genre and tweaks them to his own tune, providing what could possibly be a quite rich, and plausible vampire mythology of his own.
In and of itself, Bride of the Fat White Vampire is an entertaining, satisfying, novel, wherein Fox adds the flavor traditional mystery story to an already tasty dish of mysticism, humor and the supernatural, and a worthy successor to his engaging debut novel. I suspect, and hope, Fox has more Fat White Vampire tales up his sleeve, he has created an engaging cast of characters, thrust them in a well-realized New Orleans, and crafted a vampire mythology that begs for further exploration.
Visit Andrew Fox’s Web site: http://www.andrewfoxbooks.com
Reviewed by Rob H. Bedford
© 2004 Rob Bedford