It seems everywhere a reader looks today, there’s another vampire novel coming out. Pages and pages with the same plot of tragically beautiful undead with their lonely afterlives as they search for love and acceptance seem to make up most the fare, causing readers to seek something different or, dare they ask, original. Meet Jules Duchon, a 450-pound cab driver in New Orleans who just happens to be a vampire. This isn’t your typical tragically Goth bloodsucker.
What makes this book such a fun read is, to begin with, the originality of the concept as well as the humor out of which it is born. Everyone has read stories of vampires who turn into bats, but seldom has anyone seen a bat so fat that it can’t get off the ground. His wolf incarnation isn’t any better with a belly that drags the ground. He even seems to be developing something akin to vampiric diabetes. It surely is enough to give a man the blues.
The characters are, without exception, well developed and engaging. From Doodlebug, who leads a cult in California and has managed to transform himself into a woman, to Maureen, who exhibits all the fire and verve that Cajun women are famous for, the supporting cast is superb. Malice X begins as a run-of-the-mill vampire villain, but as the story progresses, he turns into a real character. It is Jules, the fat white vampire himself, that is the star of the show, however, as Fox manages to bring the reader to have sympathy for the chubby killer. Even the city of New Orleans is treated with a loving touch.
Fat White Vampire Blues may be just the thing to snap readers out of the cookie-cutter vampire book rut that seems so prevalent today. While some of the old clichés are present, Fox manages to find a way to make them fresh, winking with the reader instead of laughing at him. By reading along, one feels that at least this New Orleans vampire is more of an old friend than a monster.
Fat White Vampire Blues
By Andrew Fox
Ballantine Books, 2003
4 out of 5