Audiobook Review: The President’s Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth

27 04 2011

The President’s Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth (Nathaniel Cade, Book 2)

Read by Bronson Pinchot

Blackstone Audio

Genre: Horror

Quick Thoughts: The President’s Vampire scores well on many levels, offering us true horror, as well as multidimensional characters, excellent narration and some kick ass action scenes. 

Grade: A-

I really never understood the whole “good vampire” thing. I always thought that the mythos of the vampire came from one of our society’s deepest implanted archetypes, the idea that we are not on the top of the food chain. There are predators out there, and they hunt us at night, sucking our lifeblood from us, and they are faster, stronger and quicker. The concept of the “good vampire” always, at least to me, seemed to be the antitheses of the vampire. We take the ultimate predator, and make him sexy, this Eurotrash gigolo who would sweeps us off our feet, if only he can get over that annoying blood habit. To me, the “good vampire” is in the same class with the “articulate zombie” and the “fastidious boogeyman.” Yet, Nathaniel Cade, Chris Farnsworth’s good vampire in his The President’s Vampire serious, rings true to me. I guess for me, it’s that Cade doesn’t deny his predatory ways, he just refocuses it. Bound by his blood oath to serve the President of the United States, Cade uses his gifts as a vampire to hunt down the most despicable among us, whether human or monster. Cade understands he is not human. He also knows his limitations. While Cade is the physical better than most of the living creatures on earth, he knows that he is outclassed by the ultimate in evil, bureaucracy.  Hence, Cade has a human counterpart, Zach Barrows.

There are a lot of things to like about The President’s Vampire. Yet, for me, the number one thing was the maturing of the Zach Barrow’s character. In the first book, I found him a bit whiney, yet in the second book, while he is far from perfect, he is much more likeable. Barrow’s moves from a bratty, disgraced political wonk, to a significant part of Cade’s team. Cade need Barrow’s maybe even more than he needed former companion Griff. Cade may be able to dispatch monsters, and enemies of the state, yet, that is just the symptom to the overlying problem. As with all great monster books, it’s the human elements that embrace evil for personal gain, which is the true enemy, and it’s Barrows that is equipped to handle that. With the progression we’ve seen in the character from Book 1 to Book 2, we see how that potential can be fulfilled. Another thing that I love about this series is Farnsworth’s ability to turn the monster mythos on its head, without destroying the underlining principle that they are monsters. What he did from zombies in book one, he does for Lizard men in book two. Farnsworth reached back into our evolutionary path and finds a monster that is truly scary. Add to that that some people find this evolutionary precursor preferable to humans with free will, and democratic government, and this is truly what horror should be, a fantastic, yet plausible scenario that will keep you up at night.

There is something comforting about Bronson Pinchot’s reading style in The President’s Vampire. I know, this is supposed to be scary, so why have a reader with comfort in his voice. Well, because it works. Pinchot’s style, like that of James Marsden in the Dresden Files, works because the material itself adds such a mood, that the narrator doesn’t need to force it. Pinchot tells the story like that of the best campfire tales, with subtly. His reading of Cade is dead on, a touch of monotone, yet with an underlining humanity trying to peak its head out. Blackstone has done an excellent job here, pairing writer with narrator. Some narrator’s could overpower this tale with an over the top performances, but instead, we have someone who can handle both the intense action, as well as the historic interludes, with authenticity. The President’s Vampire scores well on many levels, offering us true horror, as well as multidimensional characters, and some kick ass action scenes. 

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3 05 2011
Chrisfarnsworth.com » And In Other News… -Author of THE PRESIDENT'S VAMPIRE series

[…] has a funny video review along with his slightly longer, more detailed text review. Bob Reiss has an excellent write-up of the book and its performance by the inimitable Bronson Pinchot in the audio…. Also, Lady Techie’s Book Musings. Also, Books4Ever. And many thanks to Brent Frankenhoff at […]

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