Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Every Last Drop" by Charlie Huston

When we last left vamp P. I. Joe Pitt, he was exiled to the Bronx, mostly due to his own actions. He'd made quite a few enemies, becoming persona non gratis in almost every Clan. And he'd managed to get his HIV-positive girlfriend, Evie, infected with the Vyrus by someone in the Enclave, which means that she'll never get out. It was a dark time in Joe's life.

Joe's life hasn't gotten much brighter when "Every Last Drop" opens. He's been in the Bronx for a year now, subsisting as best he can, trying to keep his head low and not cause trouble. Except this being Pitt, trouble finds him, as usual, this time in the form of a gang of teen hoodlums, all infected with the Vyrus. Joe realizes that they're trouble, and thinks he can handle them; he ends up being bound with razor wire and delivered to their boss, Alistair Lament. While being questioned and tortured by Lament, Pitt is rescued by another old enemy, Mrs. Vandewater. Once his dealings with her begin, he is in turn rescued from her by yet another enemy, none other than Mr. Predo. Seems that the Coalition needs Joe to investigate the newest Clan on the block, the one started by a human girl, the one claiming to be working towards a cure. This would mean Joe being back on his home turf, but it won't be easy. Like I said, Joe made a lot of enemies the last time around.

Joe does what he does best - play everyone off each other. He agrees to Predo's demands, then tells the girl that he's spying for him. She in turn wants something, too. She asks Joe to find out where all the blood comes from. Of all the Clans, the Coalition is the only one that keeps its members fed, and fed well. Others have even gone to the Coalition and cut deals when their supplies have run low. Where does all that blood come from? The answer is, in a word, horrific. I always knew that Huston could write down and dirty when he needed to, or chose to, but wow. This took things in a completely nasty direction, one I didn't see coming. It's certainly not one that Joe expected, either.

It's another wild ride in Pitt's life, and I'm glad to say that I'm pretty sure it's not going to be the last. I mean, after all, Joe's still got to get the girl, right? Well, maybe. It is a Huston book, after all, and he's not known for his happy endings. Still, I'd like to think that Joe will get a happy ending - he's my kind of guy.

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