Title: The Vampire and the P.I.
Author: J.P. Bowie
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 198 Pages
Category: Paranormal, Mystery
At a Glance: Beyond the social or political overtones in this novel, there is a very good mystery at its heart. The pacing is swift, the action is dangerous and slow building, and the characters draw us into their story right away.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: When Sean Martin was shot in the hip he thought his days in law enforcement were over. Leaving the force with commendations and a healthy disability agreement he opened up his own private investigative business, and for a while enjoyed success until a jealous and homophobic ex-colleague spread a story about Sean assaulting an underage boy, the son of an influential congressman.
Overnight, Sean’s business tanked, leaving him broke and with zero clients. That is until Master Vampire, Rafael Barrantes, hires him to find the murderer of Julian Hunter, a young male escort. Sean isn’t crazy about working for a vampire—but all that changes when he meets Arturo Menendez, Rafael’s private secretary.
The stunning and uninhibited Arturo wastes no time in showing his admiration for the handsome PI. He immediately tries, and succeeds in seducing Sean. In between bouts of the most amazing sex Sean has ever had, he discovers that the facts surrounding Julian’s murder have been swept under the carpet. Perhaps by pressure from his wealthy ‘clients’ whose veneer of respectability might be irreparably damaged if it were disclosed they had used Julian’s services.
With Arturo’s help, Sean wades through a web of deceit, lies and treachery trying not only to find Julian’s killer, but also to vindicate himself of the false rape charge that ruined his career. In the process he is beaten, kidnapped by a bad cop, and bitten by a rogue vampire. With the odds stacked against him, can he possibly ever solve the mystery of Julian’s murder, and can Arturo, even with his vampire powers, save Sean from a grisly death?
Review: The Vampire and the P.I. by J.P. Bowie is a nicely done story about adjusting attitudes and realigning your inaccurate perceptions about a different race; in this case, a paranormal race.
After being falsely accused of and unjustly maligned over an empty charge of under age rape, Sean Martin has found that the private investigation business he started after being wounded in the line of duty is at a standstill. With no other clients in sight, he is forced to take a job from one of the head vampires in the area, and track down the reasons why his human lover seemingly committed suicide. As Sean learns more, he begins to discover that there have been some very clever maneuvers made by a cop he has not trusted in quite a long time; in fact, the same cop who was responsible for spreading the false charges against him.
Now, with the help of another vampire, Sean is in a race against time to track down who or what killed his client’s lover. What he doesn’t count on is the incredible attraction he feels for Arturo, and while he can’t discount that it may just be a glamour effect that vampires are known to use on humans, he knows deep in his heart that he is falling for a creature he never would have suspected to be so attractive to him.
It’s funny how sometimes novels written prior to this political climate can be so very timely even today. Beyond the fact that this novel could substitute just about any marginalized group, from LGBT to a minority race, in lieu of the vampires stands as a testament to this author’s ability to write a timeless setting for his paranormal story. But even beyond its commenting on how easy it is for any of us to find racial motivations to hate another person, it also allows for the idea that a person can discover that fact about themselves and begin to change. For Sean, he works against the tide on many issues, not only as a gay former police detective but also as someone who never thought he would be attracted to a member of the vampire community. It is nice to watch his perceptions change and to hear him admit to himself that he was wrong about the vampires, on many levels.
Beyond the social or political overtones in this novel, there is a very good mystery at its heart. The pacing is swift, the action is dangerous and slow building, and the characters draw us into their story right away. While I must admit I’m not always a fan of a lot of sex in a story, this one was fairly well balanced, and the interactions that occurred between Arturo and Sean helped to move the plot along, in many cases. A surprising side benefit of experiencing their growing attraction was the fact that J.P. Bowie opted not to focus mostly on the paranormal aspects of the vampire community, but instead, highlighted the intimate interactions between his two main characters. As a result, we weren’t offered just another run-of-the-mill vampire story, but rather, the opportunity to watch the building of a relationship, and that made this novel more interesting in the long run.
The flaws in this story were minor and yet, one cannot overlook the fact that so much of Arturo’s back-story was quickly brushed over, making him rather one-dimensional at times. Sean was a much more interesting character, especially when it came to his run-ins with his archenemy, a fellow detective still on the force. Perhaps it was intentional on the author’s part to have Arturo remain so emotionally aloof, in terms of his history, but I felt in the end it made the story suffer a bit.
The re-release of The Vampire and the P.l. reminds readers that love can come upon us when we are most unaware and often not looking for it, and that our perceptions of people are often false when we only look skin deep. It is a cautionary tale in some ways that gently chides us for forgetting to look beyond the surface, for it is often beneath that where real love is experienced.
You can buy The Vampire and the P.I. here: