"Blood Society" Book Review
Written by Jeffrey Thomas
2011, 243 pages, Fiction
Released on October 11th, 2011
When a mobster fills a body with lead, the last thing he expects is for that body to keep moving. Immortality is, by definition, an assassin's worst adversary. In Blood Society, Jeffrey Thomas' latest release with Necro Publications, a man that just won't stay dead is at the center of the action. A truly epic supernatural horror novel, "Blood Society" mashes together two things that work so well together that a comparison to peanut butter and jelly is not out of place; I'm talking about horror and la Cosa Nostra.
The story begins in a crypt in Palermo, Sicily, in 1909. On a holiday Sicilians call Giorno dei Morti, "The Day of the Dead," a young boy encountered death face-to-face when his mother took him along to pay respects to her dead father. The boy, Attilio Augusta, met a beautiful woman while exploring the crypt. Thirteen years later, Attilio runs into the same woman at the crypt. She hasn't aged a day. After getting reacquainted, Attilio gets to know the woman on a more physical level and she gives him the sexual experience of a lifetime. Afterwards, she leaves him half-dead with a massive bite that runs across his shoulder and back. However, Attilio isn't dead. In fact, the mysterious woman — who goes by Maria Vitale — gave Attilio immortality with that bite.
Far from the pale, sparkling vampires that are so popular nowadays, Thomas brings to the table some bloodsucking monsters that have the power of transmutation and a penchant for gore when the situation merits it. With Maria's gift and a lot of work, Attilio becomes a successful mafioso who first runs with Al Capone in Chicago during the 1920s, owns Boston in the 1950s and gets caught up in a war of otherworldly proportions in Massachusetts in the 1990s. Throughout the narrative, the mafioso adopts the disfigured son of a prostitute Capone tried to use to blow him to smithereens, changes his name a few times, survives countless attempts on his life, is forced to evaluate love and relationships when immortality is thrown into the mix, suffers Maria's boundless cruelty and even faces death at the hands of monsters just like him.
While the main story packs as much action, betrayal, tension, sex, drama and bullets as any good mafia movie, Thomas' writing truly shines in the underlying narrative and the way he effortlessly transitions between the real world and that unknown world of shadows creatures inhabit when their physical presence is hidden behind the veneer of a human body. Furthermore, Thomas steers clear of all known vampire clichés and finds ways for his characters to deal intelligently with their thirst for blood while contemplating their situation with an almost philosophical slant.
Blood Society offers an honest, informed look at the everyday occurrences of organized crime while simultaneously reveling in supernatural horror and keeping a nice balance between dialogue-heavy scenes and terrifyingly gory passages full of crushed skulls and bodies being ripped open by bullets. If you like your vampires hard, your stories well-written and your violence unflinching, get a copy of Blood Society right now.
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