I've been meaning to write a book review for some time now, but honestly, haven't been doing much actual reading lately. Blame it on my crazy hormones, but I just haven't been able to settle down and focus lately. The other day, when I finally had the mindset to want to read something and escape, I reached for Kelly Vero's Summer Girl : A Blood For Blood Novel.
Summer Girl is a vampire detective novel set in Malta. I received it in PDF form, and at 92 pages, it was the perfect read to keep me busy on a unusually cloudy late summer day. A few disclosures, though: I have always loved vampire stories, originally influenced by my mother's love of old black and white horror films and officially obsessed as a teenager when I saw Lost Boys (the first!) eight times in the movie theater. I've read most of the Sookie Stackhouse series, too. And, I live in Malta. So already, this book is right up my alley.
The main character is the vampire Jack Sant, formerly a Knight of the Order of Malta. Sant is not your ordinary vampire though. Rather than living up to the evil stereotype of the undead, Sant struggles internally with what he has become while retaining the humanity of his past life, a life which was dedicated to God. His present day life is spent assisting the police in solving cold cases, including that of Summer Girl, a young girl murdered thirty years ago whose killer was never caught.
In addition to the story, the setting is like a character itself. Malta's language and history are very much a part of this novel, even as much as the plot. I have seen this done before, by authors who either put so much of Malta into the story that it becomes readable only to the Maltese audience, or not enough Malta, resulting in the reader being unable to relate. Vero seems to strike the perfect balance of immersing the reader in Maltese culture without going overboard. I can only assume it is because the author actually lives in Malta, rather than an author who visits once and decides to use it as a backdrop.
I can certainly see the opportunity for this to turn into a series. To me, this read like a teaser, and I found myself wondering about the next case to be solved, and other possibilities of intertwining Maltese culture. It's impressive that an author can grab the reader like that in only 92 pages, and it leaves me wondering what could be accomplished if the novels were to become full length.
What I do see is a future for more Jack Sant. So go ahead and pick up Summer Girl, you won't be disappointed!