The secret war between vampires and humans escalates and the world will never be the same again…
Christopher Jude Miller – fully grown and still human – has returned to New York to seek answers about his past. It is there he meets Joie, a young woman connected to his past, and falls into a twisted love triangle. He and Joie also realize that the magical forces that made both their lives possible have unexpected side effects, as they discover that united they have abilities neither knew of before - including the power to cure vampires.
Created after the incidents that brought in the National Guard to contain the vampire zombie plague on the Lower East Side, Clean Slate Global is a covert ops organization formed to rid the world of vampires, run by ex-deputy mayor Jonathan Richmond. But Richmond unleashes an ancient evil with darker motives. It plots to use Christopher and Joie's power to eliminate all vampires from the Earth…with the exception of its own new and improved indestructible army of the undead.
About the Author
TERENCE TAYLOR, author of Bite Marks, is also an award-winning children's television writer, whose work has appeared on PBS, Nickelodeon, and Disney, among many others. After a career of comforting young kids, he's now equally dedicated to scaring their parents. His short horror stories have been published in all three Dark Dreams anthologies. He lives quietly in Brooklyn and laughs a lot between acts of literary carnage.
Read an Excerpt
3:32 P.M.—East Village, 19 July 2007
Christopher had never been sick a day in his life.
It was a running joke in the family. There wasn’t one kid or parent they hadn’t carried to the emergency room in the middle of the night, at one time or another, except Christopher. They’d made jokes about his good health all through his childhood, had even accused him of bringing a few family pets back to life before they could be buried. They made jokes, the neighbors made jokes, teachers made jokes, but beneath all the laughter was something darker.
There was fear.
He could feel the shiver under the love, behind the smiles. His adoptive parents loved and cared for him, but the Ross family could sense the same thing he could. Christopher wasn’t one of them, even if they couldn’t pin down exactly how or why, different in a way no one could define. Despite his dark-blond good looks, his athleticism, the charismatic quiet that drew people to him, they were a little scared by how easy it was to trust him. It was like he was too good to be true, not their son but a confidence man with a practiced pitch they should beware.
No one tried to stop him when he announced that he was moving to New York to look for his birth parents and uncover his history. They’d said all the right things, told him they understood why he had to go, that they’d miss him and he should hurry back soon, but he saw the relief in their eyes, the way their bodies relaxed as soon they dropped him off at the Metro-North train station in Bridgeport.
Once he reached Manhattan, he took the Lexington Avenue subway downtown from Grand Central Station to see the first of the apartment shares he’d found on Craigslist. The layered music beats in his iPod headphones made his walking view of the East Village streets feel like a low-budget, independent DV movie instead of the real thing. People that crowded the streets around him were either tourists or locals. You could tell the difference when one stopped midsidewalk to shop, gawk, or take pictures as the others shoved past.
Christopher kept moving, blended in like a local. His clothing and short, shaggy hair were cool and casual enough that the big bag over his shoulder didn’t make him look like he’d just arrived. He moved down the crowded New York streets with what looked like purpose, as if he knew where he was going, when he was completely and totally lost, unsure of what he’d find now that he was here. He’d been to Manhattan only once before, on a high school field trip, and they’d gone no farther than the Museum of Modern Art, on West Fifty-third Street, after leaving Grand Central.
Christopher finally stopped at a corner store and asked the clerk behind the counter for directions, got back onto Second Avenue, and walked south across Houston Street to find Rivington. After the canyons created by towering high-rise condos being built along Houston Street, the neighborhood below Houston seemed smaller, more intimate. He walked past windows filled with hip clothes and small restaurants with free wireless.
The address turned out to be a rusty redbrick six-story walk-up on the corner, with storefronts on the ground floor. It was near a couple of places to eat and a market, not far from the subway if he’d walked here the right way. It would do. Christopher rang the bell and a buzzer let him in the front door without question. A male voice with a clipped accent spoke from the intercom as he entered.
A skinny Middle Eastern kid a little younger than him opened the door upstairs, grinned, dressed in hip-hop gear, a backward baseball cap worn over a fade with geometric stripes cut into the side.
“Yo, man. Check it . . .”
He receded as Christopher followed him into the corner apartment. Dance music filled the air, pumped from stacks of speakers on shelves that covered the rear wall of the living room. The rest of the space was filled with hard drives, computers, screens, and recorders—reel-to-reel, cassette, CD, DVD—a technological armory equipped for any audio need. It all framed a worn couch that slouched under the window, the only free space in the room.
“My gear,” said Spider. “I produce music, so that half is studio space, cool?” Christopher shrugged as he looked over the setup.
“Yours?” he asked, nodded at the pounding speakers.
“Yeah. My girl Vangie’s new band, Bitter. They play tonight at a gallery in Chelsea. Come; should be hot.”
“Want to see the room?”
“I’ll take it. You want references?”
The guy looked at him and grinned. “You’re cool, I can tell. Tag’s Spider Remix, call me Spider.” He held out a fist. Christopher punched back, felt like a liar even if he knew he was “cool.” Everyone thought so. Just once he’d like to meet someone who didn’t automatically fall for his fatal charm. “First month’s rent and half the deposit today, move your stuff in anytime.”
Christopher dropped his bag on the floor.
“Done. Where’s the party?”
Excerpted from Blood Pressure by .
Copyright 2010 by Terence Taylor.
Published in April 2010 by St. Martin’s Griffin.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
THE COMPANION BOOK TO BITE MARKS. THE VAMPIRE BABY IS ALL GROWN UP AND IMMORTAL BUT NOT A VAMPIRE. EVERYONE WANTS HIM FOR THEIR EXPERIMENTS. THE VAMPIRES ARE BRUTAL, THE STORY IS GREAT, WELL ROUNDED PLOT AND CHARACTERS. I HAD A HARD TIME PUTTING IT DOWN. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND BOTH BOOKS AND CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT.
In 2007 Christopher moves to New York seeking to find and meet his biological parents so he can finally understand why he is so different than the Ross family who raised him. In Manhattan, he meets performing art film documentary maker Joie. .They share a strange bond as each realizes the impact on their respective soul by otherworldly forces. However, they will soon learn that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts as together they possess incredible power that others want to use for their nefarious schemes. The Federal funded covert ops Clean Slate Global learns of their joint skill and plans to use it as a super weapon to eradicate all vampires except for those who work for them. Christopher and Joie team up with her parents Lori and Steven, psychotherapist Dr Lazarus, and Prenelle the vampire top prevent the government from being the only group to possess vampires. Two decades since Bite Marks occurred, the action picks up without missing a heartbeat due to a strong cast especially the heroes and the lead villain. Fast-paced throughout even with super looks back in time to late 1920s Cabaret Berlin and the Harlem Renaissance, fans will relish this motley crew of Davids and Davidettes fighting against Goliath as well as some rogue vampires. Blood Pressure is a one sitting thriller as the streets of Manhattan is draped in blood. Harriet Klausner
Christopher Jude Miller returns to New York City after 20 years of growing up with an adoptive family. Back in 1987, something happened that destroyed his family, and now he¿s determined to find out just what that was. The only people standing in his way: Perenelle de Marivaux, a vampire whose attempts to maintain the peace between humans and vampires shattered on that fateful night; Stephen Johnson and Lori Martin ¿ the two who found Christopher and know much more than they are willing to tell him; their daughter Joie, who seems to have a strange connection to Christopher that neither can explain.On the opposite side, thanks to those same events, a new government agency, known as Clean Slate Global, arises from the aftermath of those events in 1987 with one goal: eradicate all vampires. In order to infiltrate the vampire hub, they make a deal with Claire St. Claire, a vampire who had been imprisoned for 50 years. She, however, has plans of her own, using Clean Slate to wreak vengeance of the Vampire who imprisoned her, Perenelle de Marivaux.In "Blood Pressure", author Terence Taylor creates a sequel that can stand on its own. He strikes a balance between giving too much information and not giving enough, whetting the appetite with just enough information to keep the story moving along while making the reader want to find a copy of "Bite Marks" (the first novel) and read it just to see what happened. But it isn¿t necessary in order to enjoy the second story. Having read the first book, I enjoyed seeing how the characters familiar to me deal with the changing times: Stephen and Lori¿s relationship issues, Perenelle having to once again go through the process of making her older self die so her human neighbors don¿t become suspicious, and Adam Caine ¿ Perenelle¿s vampiric ¿offspring¿ ¿ re-inventing himself as a doctor to gain access to fresh victims. But more focus is paid on the new characters, including Christopher and Joie, whose mysterious connection plays a major role in the storyline; the back story of Claire St. Claire and her ¿father¿ Tom O¿Bedlam; Richmond and Lopez from clean Slate Global; and my favorite, the inclusion of zora Neale Hurston into the mix.Her back story involving the fictitious Turner Creed, as love interest and inspiration for "Their Eyes Were Watching God" added a nice touch and tied the novel to history. Taylor used this story to introduce the Harlem Renaissance and it's influence on many of the characters within "Blood Pressure". And for me, it reminded me of her story collection "Mules and Men", when she traveled the Southern States, recording the folk tales and stories of African-Americans and dabbling in their mysticism and mythologies.Of course, what would any horror story be without monster -- this time in the form of Tom O'Bedlam, a vampire not quite right in the head, but with a devious plan to use Christopher to take over the world. Talk about evil incarnate....From beginning to end, "Blood Pressure" does a fine job of building tension, leaving you on the edge of your seat, your mouth watering in anticipation of what happens next.