Horror - novel
TBR reviewer: Mark
Set in a dystopian, religiously-demented American Empire, the city of Las Vegas is no longer a city of sin. Now called Necropolis, it is a city that eats sin. The vampires of Necropolis wait
patiently for the Empire's weekly drop off of guilty Penitents; sinners and criminals full of fresh blood.
Hank Evans is one of those Penitents and he would gladly let the vampires take every drop of his blood if it weren’t for one detail: Toby. Toby is Hank’s only son. Now, Hank must do whatever it takes to escape the city of the dead and save his son from an Empire as bloodthirsty as the vampires it uses to keep its people in line.
Shining In Crimson is a modern-day horror tale set in an alternative future where the government of The United States Of America has been replaced by a heavily religious Imperial Empire that holds its citizenship under dictatorial rule. Most serious crime, including crimes of morality, are punishable by death though not by execution. Instead criminals are dropped off in what was once the center of sin and immorality, the city formerly known as Las Vegas; there to be fed on by the Vampire population that live there as part of an agreement with The Empire. Hank is just one of these criminals, arrested for being caught with a prostitute, but Hank is different. Because Hank intends to survive....
From the moment I read the synopsis for this novel, the first in an upcoming series, I was intrigued. It sounded exactly my sort of thing, right up my alley and something I could really sink my teeth into (no pun intended). Unfortunately, after the first seventy pages or so and the initial excitement of the main character being dropped off in a city heavily populated by nothing but Vampires, everything started to go to down hill! The whole plot became overly convoluted, there were flashbacks galore as characters shared each others memories and experiences from one moment to the next and it quickly became increasingly difficult to separate who was who as everything else just seemed to descend into cliche!
This was a book with so much potential and a real chance to attempt something different with the whole Vampire genre but instead the author retreads old ideas and seemingly forgets about the aspects of this book that so attracted me in the first place. The whole idea of Las Vegas as Necropolis goes largely unaddressed other than as a basic premise and there is little reference as to how The Imperial Empire managed to seize control of the good ol' USA in the first place which, to me, would have been an excellent angle to explore! I know that this is the first part in a series and these things may be gone into further in subsequent volumes but for me, the author lost a real chance and opportunity to hook me in and keep me interested beyond about the halfway mark!
Overall, that which was mentioned above ruins any chance Shining In Crimson had of being outstanding by not living up to the potential it promises from its initial premise. I really wanted to like this. It is a bad sign of a novel when you no longer find yourself caring about the characters and, with a hundred pages to go, I began seriously wondering whether I cared enough to go on. The answer to that question was yes but it was a very close thing.
Would I read any more in this series? Probably not. Life is too short to waste on books that don't live up to potential.