Title: Gun to My Head
Author: Dira Lewis
Genre: LGBTQ+ Paranormal Fiction
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Pages/Word Count: 325 pages
Sin is a vampire at the end of his rope. Having escaped forcible conversion by a vampire cult, he temporarily kills himself and rises again only to immediately imprint on a human: eighteen-year-old Dominic.
Thanks to the cult’s conditioning, Sin can’t bite Dominic, but because of the imprint he also can’t leave him alone. Protecting Dominic from a local vampire named Oriana puts Sin between a rock and a hard place.
With nowhere else to turn he does his best to convince Dominic to like him—but finds himself becoming just as attached to Dominic, which definitely isn’t making his life any easier.
The story starts with Sin Nombre, a vampire with no name, shooting himself in the head. From the beginning, it’s safe to assume our protagonist is a bit unstable and therefore unreliable, but the insanity added a fluidity to him. He’s a bit of your Angel/Angelus crazy (a vampire who can’t bite), but I’d argue there’s more to Sin than Angel. He thinks tough, he acts tough, but there’s a soft spot in him. He sees himself as a broken and rotten thing, but Dominic doesn’t think so.
The bits of French and sacre québécois were a fantastic addition to his voice. From what I was able to piece together, Sin was a young man in the 60’s in Québec before he was turned. At first there isn’t much to redeem him. He killed his lover. He lived a life of torment and death. Then he shoots himself, for a moment of reprieve, starts a turf war, and almost gets a human killed. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself and the voices in his head. But… then he saves a guy. And he keeps saving him.
The gritty language, the unreliable insanity, and the ambiguity over what it means to be hallow won me over. With the added interesting world building and just a touch of romance, I was over the moon. I don’t say this often, but I read this book really really slowly, so I could savor it. I sank so far into Sin I didn’t know who I was. I took sips of air–I looked up every French word I didn’t know, and I asked my friend from Montreal to translate a particularly feisty passage, not because I needed him to–I could understand the gist–but it kept me from finishing the book for another fifteen minutes. This novel wasn’t a one night stand for me. I made maudit love to it.
I understand people are tired of dark vampire stories. I admit, I am too. Let’s just say I had an obsession with vampires when I was younger, and I’ve done things that make reading some of these vampire books seem childish. But this story is good. Really good. If this could even be remotely on your radar, consider changing your heading.
B. A. Brock is a reviewer for The Novel Approach and Queer Sci Fi. He enjoys reading, writing, running, family and food, and fills his life with bent bunk. He especially loves to discuss LGBTQ+ literature. His website is http://www.babrockbooks.com. You can find him on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/BABrockBooks.