Thursday, June 11, 2009

Blood Bar by Norm Applegate

In his third novel, Norm Applegate continues to tell the story of his interesting heroine--Kim Bennett, a San Fransisco madame. This time, Rose has called Kim from New York City. Rose is a role-playing vampire, a woman who truly believes that she is a vampire and drinks blood. Her boyfriend, Drach, also a role-playing vampire, has been poisoned and killed.

Kim flies to New York to help her friend and is quickly drawn into the vampire underworld. She meets Nicolai and his blood slave, Erin. She learns that vampires do exist, and is drawn into the search for the vampires' greatest secret, the Black Testament. Along the way, she learns that she is related to Jack the Ripper, and her friend Rose is related to the Ripper's first victim, Mary Anne Nicholls.

There's also a healthy dose of eroticism in the book--it's definitely written for adults!

There are two truly distracting elements to this book. One, Applegate's copy editor fell down on the job. There are numerous glaring grammatical mistakes, usually run-on sentences, but also typos and misspellings. The other issue is that while Applegate attempts to make the story mysterious, present a puzzle for the reader to solve, all he does is succeed in confusing the reader.

The story was interesting, but the writing really was distracting. I ended up feeling more confused in the end than satisfied with the story. It didn't really have the right flavor for me to enjoy it fully. However, if you enjoy vampire stories, a walk on the dark side, mystery, and a healthy dose of erotica, this book is for you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Is there such a thing as racial writing?

I've been trying to read a book that I received as a reading copy. I feel like I have a responsibility as a book review blogger to read the book. I requested a copy, I committed myself to reading the book. I just cannot get through the book!

Part of the problem is that I can't make heads or tails of it. I simply don't understand what the author is talking about! This particular book is written by an African-American lady. I am a white person. I'd like to think that I am not at all prejudiced, but who doesn't have at least a little prejudice? I do have mixed race members of my family, and I've even had a job where I was the only white person who worked there. I think I have a fairly good understanding and empathy for most other cultures.

This book makes me doubt that. It feels to me as if it has been written for a strictly African-American audience. Then I wonder: Do African-Americans have difficulty reading novels written for a white audience? Are they confusing or uninteresting to them? Likewise with Asians or Hispanic people. Is there such a thing as writing for a specific race? Are we really that different culturally?