Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Evenings on Dark Island by Rhett DeVane and Larry Rock -- Book Review

If Fantasy Island was set in Florida and hosted by a flamboyant party planner turned reluctant vampire, you might just get a taste of what Evenings on Dark Island is like.

Patrons return each year to the Spa at Dark Island where the many amenities rejuvenate and replenish them and provide an escape from their real lives. Vincent Bledsloe is their smoking jacket wearing, Cuban cigar smoking host, who along with his rat-faced gardener, Arby, and the tight-lipped but pleasant staff, caters to the clients' every need.

Enter DEA agent Reanita Geneva Register, posing as the daughter of an oil baron to uncover illegal activities on the island. This week she is spending time with an actor well past his prime, a vamp starlet, and the wife of a well-known senator. If Vincent and Arby can keep their newest guest, Ms. Register, from tramping through the trails and being attacked by alligators and bitten by snakes, perhaps planning for the Blue Blood Ball will go off smoothly. Well, that is if Vincent can keep a redneck NASCAR loving vampire away and tame his high-maintenance vampiress lover and her ill-tempered undead Chihuahua.

In this entertaining vampire spoof, authors Rhett DeVane and Larry Rock have combined the vampire craze with everything southern, tossing in some quirky characters along the way to bring you a book you'll want to read more than once.

I had read DeVane's earlier work (The Madhatter's Guide to Chocolate and Up the Devil's Belly), and while her flair for bringing the south to life is definitely a big part of this novel, it is her characters that shine through once again and make this a spectacular read. One cannot attempt to read a book by this author without getting involved in their characters' lives.

Rock appears to have provided a great deal of research to this novel in the form of party planning and gardening. The reader soon discovers that the rat-faced Arby, who has been accepted by no one until Vincent came along, is in the midst of preparing the largest event of the year, the Blue Blood Ball. He also mixes and breeds different and unique species of plants, many of which he uses in his herbal remedies.

My only tiny complaint about Evenings at Dark Island is that the setting almost became like a character in and of itself. I like having a detailed picture painted for me so I can be immersed in the story, but overdone it gives you pages of narrative that interrupts the action.

That aside, I loved this book. I think the television show Angel ruined me to read anything serious about vampires. I absolutely devoured that show and fell in love with the brooding Angel, who was cursed with a soul. The thought of picking up one of the Twilight books turns my stomach. This fang-in-cheek novel is much more my style.

Evenings at Dark Island is definitely a book worth spending time on.

Title: Evenings at Dark Island
Authors: Rhett DeVane and Larry Rock
Publisher: Infinity Publishing
ISBN-10: 0741459310
ISBN-13: 978-0741459312
SRP: $17.95

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