Get Caught Up in Vampire Gang Warfare in Mexico City with 'Certain Dark Things'

Get Caught Up in Vampire Gang Warfare in Mexico City with 'Certain Dark Things'

Thursday, 9 September, 2021

The right book can instantly transport you to anywhere — and anytime — in the world. Every Thursday, we recommend one of our favorite books with a strong sense of place so you can see the sights, meet remarkable people, go on exciting adventures, and feel big feelings. Bonus: You don't even have to put on pants.

This post is part of our 'Weekend Getaway' series.

rule

We featured this book in our post about our favorite literary vampires — and then it went out of print. It was just reissued in a new edition from Tor Nightfire, so if you’ve wanted to read this gripping novel, now is the time.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia has an affinity for transforming the tropes of iconic genres — noir, vampire lore, folk tales, Gothic manor house — into something that pays homage while being fresh and surprising. This novel — a mashup of crime novel and vampire fantasy — is a bullet train to the alluringly seedy underbelly and dangerous nightlife of Mexico City.

In this alternative version of history, Mexico City is meant to be a vampire-free zone. But when rival vampire gangs in the North go to war, the capital city is no longer a safe haven from bloodsuckers. And homeless, mostly friendless, kind of clueless Domingo is about to get caught in the crossfire of silver-tipped bullets.

He’s seen the mysterious and beautiful young girl before. She’s got a raven-black bob, an F-off attitude, and a genetically modified, oversized Doberman named Cualli at her side. But even a girl as tough as Atl — descended from Aztec blood drinkers — needs help once in a while. With deadly Necro vampires hot on her tail, she could use a friend she can trust. Fortunately, Domingo is just lonely enough (loyal enough, scrappy enough) to brave her talons — literal and figurative — to fight at her side.

But in vampire gangland warfare, allegiances are rarely clear, and even the good guys are sometimes bad. The Atl vs. Necro situation is further complicated by an ambitious human cop, an ageless Revenant, an all-human crime gang called Deep Crimson, the dreadful Croneng’s disease, and the relentless sanitation workers: government inspectors intent on ferreting out vampires amidst the humans.

To save her skin, Atl’s got to get out of Mexico. As she and Domingo make a desperate run for the border, the various forces working against them all finally meet in a fight to the death.

This page-turner is a mashup of crime procedural and vampire adventure that explores the bittersweet allure of (possibly, probably) ill-advised romance and the humanity that can linger deep inside of monsters.

Atl removed her gloves. Her fingers were love and beautiful. But the nails were sharp and black. It was not nail polish. These were her natural nails. These were a bird’s talons. She raised those long hands and placed them on either side of his face… as her hair turned into feathers and her hands seemed to grow more talonlike. — Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Certain Dark Things

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This vampire tale (272 pages) was published in September of 2021 by Tor Nightfire. The book takes you to Mexico City. Melissa read Certain Dark Things and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.

Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and give back to the book community.

Certain Dark Things: A Novel

 

Top image courtesy of Jens Peter Olesen/Unsplash.

Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!

keep reading

Oh, Carmilla! She's beautiful and slinky and, perhaps, not as innocent as she seems. Which makes this vampire story a suspenseful, atmospheric romp through dark bedrooms, chilly drawing rooms, and misty mountains.
Casiopea is a heroine you can believe in: smart, brave, sweet but scrappy. Each of her days is much like the one before and the one after, until she meets the Mayan god of death and has the adventure of her life.
This weekend, take an unsettling but stylish adventure to an isolated mansion in 1950s Mexico. Yes, the Doyle family is creepy and the house is quite sinister, but our heroine Noemí is a charming and feisty companion.

sharing is caring!

Can you help us? If you like this article, share it your friends!

our mission

Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.

our patreon

If you like the work we do, you can help support us through our Patreon! That'll unlock additional content, too — like Mel's recipe for Banh Mi Bowls, and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.

get our newsletter
We'll never share your email with anyone else. Promise.

This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.

no spoilers. ever.

We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.

super-cool reading fun
reading atlas

This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.

get our newsletter
We'll never share your email with anyone else. Promise.
follow us

Content on this site is © 2021 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.