“Angel of Vengeance” by Trevor O. Munson, the inspiration for CBS TV series “Moonlight,” features Los Angeles private investigator Mick Angel, who is hired by a seductive, figure-8 burlesque dancer to find her missing little sister. Did I mention Mick’s a vampire? Of course his investigation is not simple, as it soon is complicated by incessant cops (who he lovingly refers to as having “bacon-smelling aftershave”), murders and crimes, drug dealers, trampy romance and Mick’s checkered past. The drama is further complicated by Mick’s status as vampire, which has advantages and disadvantages.
Turned back in the ‘40s, Mick is like transporting Sam Spade from “The Maltese Falcon” — full of witty remarks about gals while drinking highballs of Scotch and wearing a tailored suit and fedora — to present day L.A., well … that is if Sam Spade was an addict whose drug of choice evolved from shooting up heroin to shooting up human blood after he became a vampire. So, perhaps a mix of a vampire Sam Spade with notorious trumpetier Miles Davis, especially since Mick played trumpet in a band before being turned and Davis was known for dabbling in heroin.
To further complicate the formula, Mick is a vampire with a conscience, seeking out rapists, murderers and overall bad dudes to feed on in an attempt to bring order to the chaotic, blood-thirsty monster he’s become. He keeps vials of their blood in his fridge but at least he’s riding the world, well L.A., of bad guys and leaving the women, children and innocents.
I’ll come clean and admit I’ve never seen “Moonlight,” so upon judging this book by its cover I was expecting something along the lines of the books flooding the teenage/young adult market in recent years about supernatural beings, particularly vampires. After a few dozen pages in, where I encountered sex, violence, drug addiction and other sinister topics, I figured this book wasn’t for teens. Don’t let the big print fool you. This ain’t a book for kiddies. Also, the combination of the classic vampire story with film noir added a unique twist to the tale.
Even further into the 239-pager, I found the combination of Mick’s past, presented in flashbacks, with the present day drama very interesting. At times, after a flashback, I paused a few seconds to remember what was happening in present day as if I was fuzzy headed from Mick’s dream too. However, this was eased by the back-story being almost more interesting than present day, which kept me reading on.
I also enjoyed Munson’s exploration of vampire lore, including bats, coffins, sucking blood and immortality, doling out information through Mick’s sarcastic thoughts and comments. It was fun as a reader to be in on the joke — Mick’s a vampire and most characters don’t know.
“Angel of Vengeance” was tasty as junk food for the mind. Just as you often yearn for something junkie to eat (I am a nachos zealot), the mind also needs to cheat on its steady diet of brain-food from time to time. Am I interested in watching “Moonlight”? No. However, this book gave me something to read while on the treadmill every day, something to distract me from the annoying fact I was exercising. I’ll stick with my Twilight and True Blood obsessions but did enjoy the junkie snack! Sookie! — Kate Vendetta