RogerBW's Blog

Switchback, Melissa F. Olson 12 July 2018

2017 modern fantasy short novel novella, second in its series. The underdog FBI department that fights vampires gets a case in a small town.

The first volume felt like a TV pilot, and this feels like a regular series episode… mostly. The team's called in to a Chicago suburb where the local police department has just been slaughtered, clearly by vampires; rather than the usual rural small-town clichés, this is one of those "everyone is terribly rich" suburbs, though that's mostly background rather than a major plot element. Through a fairly short series of investigative scenes, they work out broadly what's going on, and get into a position to resolve the case.

But at the same time some Unresolved Sexual Tension gets resolved, and secrets come out into the open. The big villain (one of those "I am six steps ahead of you and you have just done what I wanted you to do, har har" types) doesn't make an appearance, though the plan is very clearly his, and at the end of the book the situation is arguably worse than it was at the start.

The writing is still good, and if the characters rather too obviously each have their Big Trait (cancer, mysteriously killed brother, etc.) they're also turning into plausible people. There's less emphasis on the golden-boy leader and more on the minor characters; and more importantly, less need for worldbuilding infodumps that stop the story from progressing.

Definitely an improvement on the first book, and I'll be continuing with this series. Followed by Outbreak.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

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