Publishers WeeklyIn her debut novel, Sunglasses After Dark (1989), no-nonsense nosferatu Sonja Blue is a punk vampire vigilante with a Clint Eastwood swagger who shows up the sensitive vampire antiheroes of most dark fantasy as refugees from a fern bar. The commanding figure she cuts in three follow-up novels is only occasionally on display in these seven short stories (three original to the volume), the majority of which read like outtakes from longer works. "Cold Turkey" actually was incorporated into the third novel, Paint It Black, but it offers a satisfying example of the series' hard-boiled appeal with its chronicle of Sonja's struggle to repress "the Other," the ravenous vampire ego that lurks behind her omnipresent mirrorshades and terminally threatens her efforts at anonymous coexistence with humans. Other stories are less generous in imagination, overworking vampire rape imagery, yanking Sonja onstage belatedly to bat cleanup and, in the case of "Knifepoint," avoiding her appearance altogether. At least one is near-perfect, though: "Vampire King of the Goth Chicks," in which Sonja exposes a vampire faker in the Goth subculture, perfectly balances graveyard humor with Sonja's self-conscious disgust with her own vampirism and her seething contempt for deluded vampire wannabes who think being undead is "all black leather, love bites, and tacky chrome jewelry." Though Collins is in full command of her material and always makes the gore seem to matter, this book is only for Sonja's blood simple fans. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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