Mario Acevedo. The Undead Kama Sutra. NY: Harper Collins Publishers, 2008
Mario Acevedo has a great thing going for him with his Felix Gomez, vampire detective, series. Not only do the vampire characters possess a creepy allure, they get tangled up in wild adventures making such diverting intrigue, that fun-seeking readers will want to read each novel in the series.
In this third adventure, the detective travels to south Florida to mix it up with space aliens intent on corrupting the U.S. government while addicting the earth's men to virility-boosting pills, and women to breast-enhancement drugs that also increase libido. No problems with your HMO, either.
There's a nefarious motive behind this alien science that Felix uncovers with a little help from his undead friends.
The Kama Sutra of the title makes for a bit of silliness without getting too graphic. Carmen, with her friends and chalices (a human who willingly allows vampires to feed on their blood) helping, is discovering methods to use colorful sexual practices to attain transcendent levels of powerful spiritual energy. She wants to practice with a reluctant Felix and has to con him into bed.
Acevedo has a lot more confidence in his characters now. He devotes minimal space to Gomez' backstory--how he was turned into a vampire while fighting in Iraq--and the vampire world government, the Araneum, and its telecommunication system reliant upon carrier crows and arcane messages written on cured vampire skin that self-destructs on exposure to sunlight. The vampires enjoy an occasional nap in a coffin, and draughts of fresh blood that may cause momentary discomfort to queasy readers, even those who enjoy a nice boudin noir or morcilla nosh.
Gomez' friend, the luscious Carmen, has discovered a Caribbean secret: a spider whose venom tans the otherwise pale-skinned vampires. Being free to walk in daylight without heavy sunscreen makeup removes a key vulnerability. But there's a catch, for Felix: he loses his sure-fire vampire human chick magnetism. In fact, poor Felix grows depressed when a casual pick-up kicks him out of her apartment after testing his sexual athleticism. Felix, by the way, is one prideful vampire who prefers to conquer women without using his vampire hypnotic powers, so the loss of his magnetic allure is a source of shame as well as a looming ethical crisis.
Outside of seduction and feeding, Felix remains otherwise reliant upon vampire powers. Machine-gunned to shreds, he heals rapidly. When he infiltrates the high security military compound protecting the evil alien, Felix and pals float, climb walls, see in the dark, and zap human guards merely by making eye contact.
With all their undead power, however, Felix' vampire comrades are no match for the alien spy and his human hench seducers. Only an alien-ex-machina ending saves the day, sort of. Clever Acevedo, he disappears Carmen, leaving Felix frustrated at his inability to help her, but keeping the door wide open to what should be number four in the series, the quest to rescue Carmen and save her from her unimaginable fate.
Fiestas Patrias in America - Mes de la Herencia Hispana - Mes de Free Books
Hace unos años, in fact, since 1968, that the EUA has set aside a period of time to recognize and cerebrate things Latina Latino, Chicana Chicano, et al. The 90th Congress passed public law 90-498 authorizing and requesting the US President to declare an Hispanic Week. Gerald Ford did that. By the time the 100th Congress came about, in 1988, Public Law 100-402 declared a month would be enough, commencing the next year. So, ever since 1989, the United States has held its National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Little as I enjoy seeing "the 'H' word" associated with chicano literature, I feel the battle of the name is becoming passé as increasingly gente become inured to--or never felt the dagger of--accepting the government's imposition of its catch-all term in place of a preferred and more descriptive identity term. Like chicana chicano. Oh well, "so it goes," as the famous chicano writer Vonnegut used to say.
There's a point and here it is, from publisher Hachette:
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct 15) Hachette Book Group USA has rounded up a collection of our best books that celebrate Hispanic Americans to offer exclusively online as a free Hispanic Heritage Book Giveaway.
This exquisite list includes a number of highly thought-of titles, and some great discoveries:
Dream in Color By Linda Sánchez , Loretta Sánchez ISBN: 0446508047
Gunmetal Black By Daniel Serrano ISBN: 0446194131
The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters By Lorraine López ISBN: 0446699217
Bless Me, Ultima By Rudolfo Anaya ISBN: 0446675369
Brownsville By Oscar Casares ISBN: 9780316146807
The Hummingbird's Daughter By Luis Urrea ISBN: 0316154520
The General and the Jaguar By Eileen Welsome ISBN: 0316715999
Tomorrow They Will Kiss By Eduardo Santiago ISBN: 0316014125
Next week, look for details on how five La Bloga visitors can each win a set of all eight titles, mailed to the winner's home address by the publisher, in cooperation with las blogüeras los blogüeros here at La Bloga.
And that's the happenings from September's third Tuesday, a day like any other day, except we are here.
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See you next week.