Series: Nathaniel Cade #2
Published by Putnam Adult on 4/28/2011
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Paranormal Fiction, Thriller
Source: Publisher, Won
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When a new outbreak of an ancient evil—one that Cade has seen before—comes to light, he and his human handler, Zach Barrows, must track down its source. The President suspects the threat might have ties to a high-level defense contractor—a private, Blackwater-like security force whose hired mercenaries who take a very dim view of being forced to work with the President’s men. To “protect and serve” often means settling old scores and confronting new betrayals . . . as only a century-old predator can.
In Blood Oath, Cade and his human handler, Zach, fought a man-made army of zombies bent on murdering the President of the United States. It was fast-paced, the turns giving me whiplash. The President’s Vampire is, dare I say, even BETTER. This is 24 meets X-Files, add a little Bourne Identity on top for good measure. I LOVE IT.
The President’s Vampire is everything Blood Oath is and more. It’s quick, funny, and engaging and there’s passion sprinkled on top, too. I know political novels can be scary for some, but Farnsworth has taken two genres (political thrillers and paranormal) and mashed them together to create a new breed: parapolitical thriller. But what I really love about his writing is that he doesn’t get preachy about politics; no, he’s simply here to tell a
good great story. I mentioned in my review of Blood Oath that the genre is saturated and this is a fresh twist on an idea that has seen everything. I still stand by that and think Farnsworth is a standout author.
The President’s Vampire picks up some time after Blood Oath; Cade and Zach have been working together for a little while now and know each other that much better. Cade is still under oath to protect the United States and its President from otherworldly (and sometimes worldly) threats, and does so with a kind of unwavering loyalty. Cade doesn’t question; Cade sees the world in black and in white. He is lethal and dangerous, yet he regrets the very thing he is, which drives his loyalty. I wonder if he would still do the job without the blood oath he swore? I really love Cade’s character, because he is so different from the vampires we get in most novels today.
What I especially liked about Cade in the second novel isn’t that we see more of his strengths; we also get to see his weaknesses. Farnsworth’s vampires are not all-powerful. They don’t glitter in the sun, they are not red-headed sharks in the water, and yes, they require sleep. Even Cade has his limitations, and I like seeing a strong protagonist portrayed in such a fashion, without compromising the integrity of the book. I liked Zach in Blood Oath. He was self-important and a complete ego-maniac in the beginning of the first novel, something Cade made sure to stamp out, but his incredulousness at his situation was hysterical. As in, “you must be kidding, right?” No, Zach, we’re not kidding. Now sack up! We still get a little bit of that in The President’s Vampire, however, there is also an air of acceptance, or at the very least, simple resignation. He’s a quick-thinker though, and I enjoyed reading every single scene with him in it. I even laughed out loud when he began thinking with his “other brain” in particular. Everyone is susceptible to that, even the most “hardened” secret agent.
The other characters in The President’s Vampire are also well-done. Graves and his team, from The Shadow Company, especially, were incredible. The shadow-men in the hats gave me the creeps, and Graves kept me guessing until the end. All in all, they were the perfect villains, because they had an agenda as a group and individually.
I can see how Farnsworth is going to build this series: each book will have a new paranormal entity to fight. Blood Oath was zombies; The President’s Vampire is Snakeheads. But Farnsworth manages to humanize both atrocities by making them mad-made creations. Fortunately we have Cade around to squash them. Farnsworth’s world-building is spot-on. He’s taken our world and placed a paranormal “film” on top of it. It’s as if two different dimensions exist and the general population doesn’t even know it. Plenty of historical references and figures make cameo appearances throughout The President’s Vampire, much as they did though Blood Oath (although I wonder if the author gritted his teeth when Osama bin Laden was killed shortly after publication of the second book?). I find myself wanting to wander into the District to find the secret passages under the Mall and the Reliquary under the Castle. Do these places really exist? What does our government really hide from us? I have to ask: Chris, is this real? Tell me now so I can go buy myself a little island!
I loved The President’s Vampire; in fact, he may be my favorite vampire. I highly recommend this series if you haven’t read it yet.
“Cade, what have we said about using slang?” Cade grimaced. He spoke mechanically, as if forced: ” ‘It embarrasses both me and the person forced to hear it.’ ” “And…?” Cade frowned at him, but continued: ” ‘And we try to avoid that kind of humiliation whenever we can.’ ” Zach smiled. It always cheered him up a little when he got to pierce Cade’s cast-iron dignity.
Books like this: Blood Oath