Published 2010 322 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Ovsanna Moore is a gorgeous Hollywood scream queen with a secret no plastic surgeon can rival: she’s a 450-year-old vampire. Yet when Beverly Hills Detective Peter King discovers that Osvanna’s pearly whites are really fangs, instead of grabbing a wooden stake, he asks her out. And a romantic Christmas Eve turns into a holiday of horror.
First there’s the werewolf attack, then a mutilated body at the Sportsmen’s Lodge turns up, and finally, Orson Welles and Mary Pickford fighting for their careers in a rat disguise and a Cyndi Lauper costume, respectively... What’s the just-getting-to-know-you couple to do?
It doesn’t help that Ovsanna’s personal assistant and sometimes lover, Maral, will do anything to get Peter out of the picture, including making a trip to the cemetery to consult Marilyn Monroe.
Peter and Ovsanna have to fight for their lives. (And yes, even a vampyre can be killed – and if you’ve survived in Tinseltown as long as some of these monsters have, you know how to do it.) Ovsanna enlists her clan, the Vampyres of Hollywood, to help battle a coterie of supernatural beasts straight out of Alien vs. Predator. This is no ratings war, it’s a fight to the death.
Love Bites is Adrienne Barbeau’s follow-up novel to 2008’s Vampyres of Hollywood which she co-wrote with Michael Scott. Adrienne Barbeau is better known for her starring roles in classic horror movies such as The Fog, Escape from New York and Swamp Thing, than her horror writing but Love Bites certainly gives strength to her writing credentials.
Love Bites is set in a time frame a couple of weeks after the events of Vampyres of Hollywood finished. It continues the adventures of scream queen Ovsanna Moore and police detective Peter King. If a Hollywood movie star and a police detective seem like an unlikely pairing prepare to be further surprised to find that Ovsanna is also an ancient vampyre. The first few of chapters give a good recap of events so far at the same time as starting the new plotline, so it isn’t vitally necessary to have read Vampyres of Hollywood before starting Love Bites.
Love Bites is written in the same style as Vampyres of Hollywood, in first person and by dual narrators. Ovsanna narrates a chapter from her point of view (POV) then Peter gives readers a chapter of the story told from his POV. For the most part this style works well but there is a certain amount of repetition at the start of some chapters that detracts from the overall reading experience. The start of the novel in particular feels a little clunky but Barbeau soon hits her stride and the flow of the story picks up pace within a few chapters. However, these are only small gripes because for the most part Love Bites is a great book.
Ovsanna’s narrative still constantly drops celebrity names but after a hundred years in Hollywood she’d bound to have met plenty of famous people. In Love Bites this name dropping is cleverly mixed with anecdotes that meld fact and fiction – and while a number of Ovsanna’s reminiscences are fantastical in nature (this is a fantasy horror novel after all) they are seamlessly joined with Hollywood fact and when not joined with fact they’re partnered with entertaining Hollywood fictions that are even more believable. While it’s all fairly tongue-in-check when Ovsanna’s Hollywood Vampyres clan (Mary Pickford, Tyrone Power, Orson Welles and Charlie Chaplin) enter the story it turns into downright funny.
There is no shortage of supernatural action, in addition to the vampyres themselves the story is populated with a number of werewolves and werebeasts (even the little known rougarou gets in on the action!) All of these beasties seem to have a grudge against Ovsanna, leading to the opportunity for plenty of supernatural smack-downs.
Love Bites is hugely good fun to read. There is plenty here for horror fans to like and the clever use of its Hollywood setting, with its humorous insights into the movie industry, gives the story an extra cross-over appeal to readers for whom vampire fiction would not normally be first choice.
LoveVampires Review Rating: