Title: Graveyard Shift | Author: Michael F. Haspil | Publisher: Tor | Pub. Date: 2017-7-18 | Pages: 352 | ISBN13: 9780765379627 | Genre: Urban Fantasy| Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from Netgalley for review consideration.
Police procedurals go supernatural in this gritty urban fantasy debut
Alex Menkaure, former pharaoh and mummy, and his vampire partner, Marcus, who was born in ancient Rome, once hunted evil vampires for UMBRA, a super-secret unit of the NSA. That was before the discovery of a blood substitute and a Supreme Court ruling allowed thousands of vampires to integrate into society.
Now, Alex and Marcus are vice cops in a special police unit. They fight to keep the streets safe from criminal vampires, shape-shifters, blood-dealers, and anti-vampire vigilantes.
When someone starts poisoning the artificial blood, race relations between vampires and humans deteriorate to the brink of anarchy. While the city threatens to tear itself apart, Alex and Marcus must form an unnatural alliance with a vigilante gang and a shape-shifter woman in a desperate battle against an ancient vampire conspiracy.
If they succeed, they’ll be pariahs, hunted by everyone. If they fail, the result will be a race-war bloodierthan any the world has ever seen.
Graveyard Shift Review
Graveyard Shift was a pleasing urban fantasy work that had a few unexpected twists to it. There are vampires and lycanthropes (albeit called therianthropes here), as one might expect. However, the vampires aren’t in the midst of a massive war against the werewolves (at least not on a level that directly impacts the story). Instead it’s vampires against humans and power plays galore. The vampires are very much a return to the ‘old’ way of doing things, with the Ancient’s formalities and politics, sex and blood, and all that good stuff.
Graveyard Shift is surprisingly refreshing and well put together for a debut novel. Michael F. Haspil does a good job of giving readers a familiar world with a different flavor than one might expect. His two main characters, Alex and Marcus, are an interesting pair. They’re partners that have the feel of brothers. They care for each other, have each other’s backs, but aren’t buddy-buddy. It’s a nice change of pace and works well for the storyline.
An urban fantasy with a lack of romance is hard to find. Graveyard Shift delights me on that level. While hormones definitely played a part in the story, love and relationship drama did not. It’s nice to read this type of story with a non-young adult perspective on it.
While Graveyard Shift didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat, I definitely enjoyed the story. The only ‘problem’ I really had was that I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Alex was unique enough to keep my attention on the book, but not someone I felt the urge to cheer for. I think the fact that the story felt ‘different’ was enough to keep me coming back to it, but not enough let me fully immerse myself.
The characters were interesting. The deviation from standard vampire versus werewolf plot was a breath of fresh air. The pacing, the dialogue, and the action were all very well written. Michael F. Haspil is a very competent emerging writer. Graveyard Shift is a great start, and I believe he can only get better from here.