Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The Lights of Prague


The Lights of Prague begins with a hunt in the streets of that old city. Domek is a lamplighter who also moonlights (as does his guild) as a monster hunter, someone who keeps the night horrors at bay in 1868 Prague. A neat concept. In fact this whole book is full of neat concepts. I loved it, in spite of a few lingering issues. It's super atmospheric, moody at times, and really evokes a sense of being in a nineteenth century city on the cusp of change. Oh, and a city crawling with undead as well. 

Domek finds more than he bargained for when he discovers a will-o-the-wisp trapped in a jar- a creature that must obey his commands, almost like a genie. The lamplighters are at war with creatures called pijavica- vampires basically. These are terrifying, and I love how the author makes them her own. In fact this whole book is filled with Slavic lore- not too much, just enough to whet the appetite (haha) and make the whole city seem dangerous. 

The star of the book though for me is Ora Fischerova, a widow of means who befriends Domek (okay, they're love interests) and she has a secret of her own. I loved her. She steals pretty much every scene she's in, to my way of thinking. I did have a bit of trouble in the beginning, and maybe throughout the first third or so of the book, with it bogging down as well as the writing style taking some getting used to. These are minor complaints, but it's not necessarily a short book and I had to stay with it. Once it got going though I was in. 

The vampires here are terrifying, with their jaws that unhinge to reveal their dozens of needle sharp fangs, their pupils that dilate when they begin to change, their clawed hands. The undead here are a trip. I love the little touches here too that make them a unique sort of bloodsucker. Oh, and I haven't read a lot of will-o-the-wisp stories but they're a favorite of mine, and the lore here regarding the various paranormal creatures- I wanted more.  

If you want a moody, historical vampire tale with nuanced characters and amazing atmosphere you need to pick this up. 

Some favorite quotes. 

"I used to drink virgin blood, but that was unsustainable," she said coolly.

"When someone who thinks their need, their anger, their power is more important than someone else's right to live."  

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Trust Issues Part Two


This is the second part of Trust Issues, a story I posted in 2016. You can find the original here

She came out of the bathroom and he was gone. She knew something hadn't sounded right, the hitch in his voice- something was up. Sure enough he had left in a hurry. She gave Sabby a nudge with her foot- there was rice all over the floor- as she went to the door and cautiously peered out. No sign. But of course. He's not going to stick around if... Swearing to herself, she closed the door and thought a minute. What had happened? He had been happy, laying there... oh shit. Quickly she went to the bed and thumbed on the screen. There it was- a message. And he must have seen it. Jerk.

She liked him- more than that actually. They had been magic together, as evidenced by the fact that she'd been blowing off pretty much everything since they started dating. Dating. For him it was dating, for her it had been a job. But the last few days... she'd been thinking how to tell him, how to get out of it. There was no out of it though.   

She jumped when the door chimed. For a split second she thought it was him- then she knew better. With a sigh and pulling her robe closer she opened the door. There were two of them, big guys in body armor and helmets with the visors down. Not taking any chances. She waved them in and stepped back as they entered, weapons lowered and eyes darting around the place. 
"He's not here," she said. "Somehow he got wind and he took off. I don't know how, dammit, but I think he read my messages."
The guy who was clearly the senior of the two didn't answer, just nodded his companion to the bathroom while he scoped the kitchen. They were thorough and cleared the place efficiently, she expected no less. When they were done the lead guy stepped in front of her. 
"How long?"
"Twenty minutes- maybe a half hour," she lied. "I think he took off as soon as I got in the shower."
"Hmm. Have you called it in?"
"No."
"Call it in," he directed to the other guy. 
"Is he armed? What's he wearing?"
She made some shit up and no he wasn't armed. She wanted to say more, to tell them to go easy if they found him, but she dare not seem too concerned. As it was this looked bad. For all she knew they'd audit her and then she was screwed. 

The other guy was talking quietly to dispatch, then thumbed off his comm. 
"If he comes back, or contacts you, you let us know right away. Got it?"
"Yeah, I got it. This guy just cost me a lot of money, don't get in my shit about it," she snapped. 
He just looked at her skeptically, then they turned to go. "Right. You have a good night now."
"I will." Asshole
They left and she closed the door, leaning against it and taking a deep breath. She was afraid, it was the first time she'd ever screwed up like this and she wasn't sure how they would handle it. Increase their eyes on her, she had no doubt. Then she slammed her hand against the wall, angry at herself for being afraid. Fuck them. what do I do now?

    

He watched from the cafe as the two men arrived, in the gray body armor and helmets that marked them as private security forces. The door opened and they went in, and he smiled to himself. Surprise. Nobody home- well, not me anyway. He took a drink and kept his eye on the door as well as the concourse in general- no sense getting blindsided by anyone else. They didn't stay long- less than five minutes and they came out again, one of them talking into the commpiece on his shoulder. They came towards the concourse, and he slouched a bit as their gaze roamed over the crowds. Then they turned and went the other way and were gone.

For a crazy moment he thought about going back, talking to her. Maybe it wasn't too late to salvage something... but no, that was crazy. She had called them there to pick him up, bottom line. If he was smart he would get his ass out of there and not come back. Not even hit this tower again. Still, the thought of not seeing Kayla again hurt- he knew he'd fallen hard but now it was even worse. The thought that he couldn't have her, that she's just ben using him...
Damn it!
Several patrons turned to look at him as he slammed his glass down. He glared back, then waited a few minutes before paying for his drink and slipping out. 

  

She went to Mac's because she wasn't sure where else to go. She'd been calling him- no answer- and she didn't know any of his friends. They hadn't gotten that far. They had spent time down here though, getting drunk and then staggering back to her place. She stood on the platform listening to the sounds of the city, the constant air traffic and the neon assault, the pulsing music from the nightclubs. Mac knew her vaguely, she'd been here once or twice for a job, but he'd known Nick better. The music was loud as she entered, but not as loud as the deep bass notes from the neighboring strip club. A rough area, but not the worst. 

"Hey Mac," she called out as she took a stool at the bar. He was wiping down the counter, something he did even when it was clean. 
"Hey hon- how are ya?" he replied.
"I'm good. You?"
"Just fine." He set a beer in front of her. 
She took a drink. And a deep breath. 
"Mac, something happened with Nick and I. I'm trying to find him."
She waited a moment. Mac was wiping again. 
"Have you seen him?"
"No," he answered without looking up. "Hasn't been in."
Right.
"Well, I've been trying to reach him. If you see him let him know, huh?"
"I will."
"Oh, and Mac? Thanks."
He looked up then. 
"For what?"
"For everything. For... taking good care of us when we made asses of ourselves."
He smiled, an easy smile. "Happens to the best of us."
"Well... thanks all the same."
He went off to help someone else. She nursed her beer for a bit, listening to the music competing with the bass thunder next door, and occasionally glancing at the door. Every time someone came in she hoped it was him. But it never was. After a bit she paid and got up to leave, waving at Mac as she walked out. 

"Hey Kay."
She turned back. "Yeah?"
"Shame about you two. You looked good together."
"Yeah, she replied as she walked out. "I thought so too." 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday #273


Halloween is on the way and I wanted to share some comic covers that are on the scary side. Or at least a little spooky. There are so many to choose from and I went with a combination of new and older covers- so let me know what you think.  



Image result for morbius the living vampire variant covers

Image result for scooby doo apocalypse cover





Sunday, October 24, 2021

Friday, October 22, 2021

Sunday Post #424


So last week I was lamenting that fall wasn't here yet (at least in my area) but the past week has taken care of that. It is definitely autumn- ish around here now, lots of rain and blustery weather this week. Which means leaves falling. Still don't really have colors turning yet though... maybe a bit. October is almost over and I always love this time of year so I'll be a little bummed. I don't even have any pumpkins out yet!     

This week I started watching Squid Game

           
I like this animation.  


Song of the week


PULP COVER OF THE WEEK: