Originally published at Fangoria.com on August 14, 2010
THE GIRLS WITH GAMES OF BLOOD, by Alex Bledsoe (pictured) and now out from Tor Books, is an uncanny tale of twin sisters and their neverending thirst for revenge. It’s set in 1975 Memphis, Tennessee, where a gang of vampires struggle to blend in with the rest of humanity.
Rudolfo Vladimir Zginski has spent 60 years in suspended limbo since getting stabbed with a golden stake in 1915. After being awakened in ’75 with the stake now removed, Rudy became enamored of the sudden leap of new technology, especially cars. After learning how to drive, Rudy felt he no longer needed to hide behind the Memphis shadows and lurk around like a filthy cockroach—and after laying eyes on her body, he instantly fell in love with a cheery 1973 Ford Mustang.
Leonardo Jones recalls the last day he was very frightened. He remembers running as a child through the humid South Carolina nights, being chased by white-hooded figures. And Leo has solemnly learned over the years that racism has not faded. Though he wishes to prevent trouble with white folks, Leo has become accustomed to the ironic humor: Now an unstoppable vampire, he can easily kill anyone who claims to be from a superior race.
A timeworn song warns listeners of the beautiful but deadly Bolade sisters, Patience and Prudence. The lyrics detail their jealous rivalry, which even stretches from beyond the grave. Their story begins with Patience killing herself after finding her lover in her sister’s arms. Patience then returns as a ghost from the afterlife, haunting Prudence and driving her to suicide. Their hatred toward each other delays their entrance into heaven—and so Patience Bolade has become well-known as a young singer at a dive bar named Ringside. She is a unique vampire, drawing strength from the energy of others. Whenever she sings with her unique, Patience withdraws that energy from her audience, leaving them tired but enthralled with her, and she never has to worry about draining too much blood from others. Meanwhile, now bitter and vengeful, Mama Prudence has become well-known as the local witch of Tennessee. She seldom feeds on the blood of random visitors, instead striving to one day find her sister and destroy her.
Disaster is close at hand when Patience and Prudence suddenly realize the other is nearby. Rudy must decide if Patience is a truly evolved vampire or something much worse, and when a waitress is discovered dead at Ringside, locals start asking unwanted questions. In a bloody confrontation, Rudy must decide whether either Patience or Prudence deserves to live in order to keep the peace between vampires and humans.
Full of mesmerizing characters and escalating horror, THE GIRLS WITH GAMES OF BLOOD is difficult to put down. With this one, Bledsoe has delivered a fresh and mature take on the vampire mythos.