Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Review: Running Dry by M. Christian

M. Christian
Running Dry

Published by Alyson Books

Reviewed by Kathleen Bradean

Shelly manages an art gallery in Los Angeles, a job that's lost its appeal for her. A handsome stranger comes in and asks for contact information for an artist who had a showing in her gallery a year before, Doud. The stranger claims he wants Doud to work as an artist director for a horror film, but Shelly is leery of giving out Doud's private information, so she pretends she's lost it.

When Shelly takes the stranger's card to the reclusive Doud's apartment, Doud panics and forces her to flee with him to Bakersfield. On the way, Doud tells Shelly that he's a vampire, and that the man who was looking for him was another vampire, a dangerous ex-lover named Sergio whom Doud thought dead.

Shelly has a hard time accepting Doud’s story. But when they arrive at Doud's secret house in Bakersfield, a mindless new vampire has been left there as a warning to Doud, and to deliver a message. Doud fights the vampire, killing it. He wins, but the combat has drained his energy, bodily fluids, and almost all his reason. Shelly sees him for the monster he can be and finally believes his story. She flees.

After feeding, Doud appears human again; his victim is reduced to dust. Doud remembers the message the other vampire delivered - he must go to Needles, a small town in the middle of the Mojave Desert. When he gets there, he can't find any trace of Sergio. A friendly local artist cruises Doud and invites him home.

Shelly conquers her fear and decides that Doud needs her help. She returns to Doud's house. While she’s there, Sergio walks in. Sergio tells Shelly that he wanted to warn Doud about another vampire who was out to kill him, an artist from Needles.

As Doud and the artist kiss, Doud realizes that the artist is a vampire who intends to feed off him. Doud runs for his life, but the artist relentlessly pursues him. Shelly and Sergio come to his rescue. Sergio and Doud's reunion clears up old misunderstandings, and together they stop the malevolent vampire.

M. Christian delivers a fresh outlook on vampires, something this genre has long needed. Although he has published hundreds of short stories, this is M. Christian's debut novel. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of his longer works.

Kathleen Bradean has published over 30 short stories and one novel under various pen names. Her stories can be found in The Best Women’s Erotica 2007, Inside Him, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 6, Hot Cops, Caramel Flava II, and She’s On Top in print, and on Clean Sheets and The Erotica Readers and Writer’s Association websites. She’s a member of the Erotic Author’s Association, Broad Universe, The Speculative Fiction Society, Bi Writers, and the Erotica Readers and Writer’s Association. She also reviews books for Erotica Revealed and Velvet Mafia.



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