The Shake

The Shake

4.7 3
by Mel Nicolai
     
 

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Kirkus Reviews gives THE SHAKE its coveted "Star" rating:

"A philosophically inclined vampire turns gumshoe and investigates an unsolved murder.

"Although the vampire element is obviously significant, the book is more a thinly veiled noir mystery. Nicolai's writing is contemplative but lean and stylish, his characters cynical, the tone decidedly unsentimental

Overview

Kirkus Reviews gives THE SHAKE its coveted "Star" rating:

"A philosophically inclined vampire turns gumshoe and investigates an unsolved murder.

"Although the vampire element is obviously significant, the book is more a thinly veiled noir mystery. Nicolai's writing is contemplative but lean and stylish, his characters cynical, the tone decidedly unsentimental. The protagonist references Zen master Aitken in one passage, remarking, "the point isn't to clear up the mystery, but to make the mystery clear." It's a quote that exemplifies this intriguing narrative blend of philosophy and crime fiction. While the author doesn't expand the vampire mythos in any significant way, he creates a story that succeeds on numerous levels-one that is simultaneously thought-provoking and relentlessly entertaining.

"An utterly readable fusion of vampire fiction and labyrinthine whodunit powered by a highly intelligent narrative containing deep existential speculation and numerous philosophical references; Anne Rice meets Dashiell Hammett at a Zen Buddhist monastery."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781453748831
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
09/27/2010
Pages:
244
Sales rank:
820,060
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)

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Meet the Author

Mel Nicolai lives with his wife in Carmichael, California.

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Shake 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Made me look for more Mel's novels.
dalnewt More than 1 year ago
This book melds vampire fiction, noir mystery, unsentimental realism and deep existential contemplation into an additively readable story. The narrative is written in the first person voice of Shake, an accidentally turned century old vampire living in central California. Shake carefully selects his human victims based upon the ease with which a death will be accepted as accidental. His 'donors' of choice are clinically depressed people and the victims of engineered auto accidents. Shake has become an inhuman predator, but he still thinks like a human. He has questions about his food choices and feels an urge to imbue his existence with some sort of context or meaning. A fascination with the complexities of chance in a world of infinite possibilities gives Shake a reason to continue to exist, and his innate curiosity motivates him. While going through the trunk of his latest victim/donor, the severely depressed widow of a murdered cop, he uncovers information about the killing as well as the photo of a local real estate tycoon with the word "bloodsucker" written on the back. Shake contemplates the synchronicity of finding this particular man's picture who he knows to be a local drug runner. Shake's curiosity and fascination with coincidence leads him to investigate the cop murder in conjunction with his decision to shake down that particular drug runner. What follows is a serpentine investigation that concludes with an unsettling but ultimately satisfying twist. The narrative is enhanced by diverting excursions into Shake's vampiric back-history and fascinating philosophical and psychological explorations. The characters are extremely well-written. As an introspective predator, Shake is perversely appealing. Furthermore, two supporting characters, (a centuries old Japanese female vampire and a barkeep/hooker turned chauffeur), are intriguing. The writing is lean but elegant. The tone is cynical but sincere. I literally inhaled this book. It's both entertaining and thought provoking. I recommend it to all fiction readers who enjoy literary explorations into vampiric psychology, entertaining philosophical discussion and/or supernatural noir mysteries.
peacedanceCR More than 1 year ago
is not worth living, apparently even for vampires. This book was a nice change in that the vampire is introspective. In fact, the author uses the vampire, Shake, to comment on human nature and that alone may make you squirm. Shake finds himself in need of a new chauffeur and while he's going about his meticulously planned routine, he stumbles upon a murder. I guess even a vampire likes a little mystery.