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.
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
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.
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