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Top Customer Reviews
Being a San Franciscan, I appreciate the correct geographical placement of the scenes in the book. I know the next time I walk up from Clement Street to the Legion of Honor, I will be having a wary eye on the adjoining golf course.
Now - just waiting for the sequel.
I chose Lynne Murray's book as my first vampire novel because I already knew I liked her writing and her plotting from having read and enjoyed her Josephine Fuller mysteriesLarger Than Death (Josephine Fuller Mystery) and her terrific Bride of the Living Dead Bride of the Living Dead. I can't talk about The Falstaff Vampire Files in the context of vampire literature -- but I enjoyed this novel because it tells a good story filled with brilliantly witty and erudite references to Shakespeare and English history -- characters and quotations. Murray incorporates and plays with Shakespeare as if his work is a kind of cultural melody that inhabits her novel the way rock and roll inhabits the work of other writers. I loved sharing Murray's obvious fun upending the back-stories of "world famous" fictional characters. Finding out the truth about who Falstaff "really" was, was fascinating. I don't know if she made it up or if it is a current scholarly controversy -- framed something like this: We all know that Shakespear never invented a thing, not a plot or a character. It was all borrowed from some body or some place else. We all know that Shakespear wasn't even Shakespear; somebody else wrote all those plays based on borrowings or stealings of other people work and lives. So now we will unmask who is really behind the Falstaff character. I haven't kept up with current Shakespeare scholarship and controversy since 1969. Other writers have won my heart and I have read them and written about them and collected their work into anthologies The Strange History of Suzanne LaFleshe: And Other Stories of Women and Fatness (The Women's Stories Project)and taken on their tropes as the best expressions of what I know about women's lives.
My interest in women's literature leads me to what most captured me about this book: it's a women's story. It's not just a woman's story but it's the story of a group of women. Women of different ages, different "stations" in life, different shapes and sizes, relationships with different power dynamics (therapist/client, landlady/renter, etc.) all involved with each other in complex emotional relationships without reference to men as an element of how they relate to each other. There are elements of women's friendships, mother/daughter types of relationships Between Mothers and Daughters : Stories Across a Generation (The Women's Stories Project), women being forced into the position of being "the other woman" in another woman's life who meet and have to negotiate that element in their relationship The Other Woman: Stories of Two Women and a Man. So much relationship variety and complexity! Only one woman remains outside of the female bonding and she is irretrievably lost; she drowns in faceless ghostly gray blobbiness! The Falstaff Vampire Files The Falstaff Vampire Filesis truly and deeply rich in the most important elements of classical women's literature. And I guess that includes the tradition of women's love for animals, too; in this case, it is cats, as it so often is, who enrich women's lives.
The writing is intelligent, witty, nicely paced. It is a substantial book filled with erudition, wit, and depth masquerading as light-weigh bit of genre stuff. The audience for FALSTAFF should be enormous because it can feed so many literary appetites. And of course, it is a book about appetites -- for something other than the usual steak and baked potato.
And no, Sir John is not a "bad guy." In fact, on many an occasion he can be found roaming the streets and talking to various people, sleeping in his coffin during the day and tell his tale at night. Nope, Sir John is not shy to state who he is, or to prove it, and before long, Kris Marlowe and her friends are watching out for Sir John, protecting him when he really should be protecting them. An evil has awaken that will take them all by surprise...
Murray does a great job making Sir John a likable character. One would think he'd be a bad vampire, and I'll admit I was skeptical of his intentions from the get go, but my heart warmed to his antics as the novel unfolded. In truth, it's less Sir John we need to worry about that the "Others," as Kris, Violet, Mina, and the rest of the cast soon find out. These "Others" are unlike any vampire lore I've read about, and I thoroughly enjoyed Murray's creation and description of them. They come in hoards, and looking them in the eye will be everyone's downfall, which gives this fun novel a bit of a gruesome feel.
Though I didn't care for all the characters, Murray has created a great story for those of us out there that enjoy unique novels, twisting what we "know" about vampires and creating a whole new image.
(Please note: I use the star rating system of that of Goodreads, which is different from that of Amazon. My overal rating is that I like it.)