Certain Dark Things

Domingo is a teen-age garbage picker in a closed off Mexico City where gangs rule and police investigate by pushing chili-laced soda water up the nose of informants.

Atl is a Tlahuihpochtli, a clan of matriarchal vampires originating in Central America thousands of years ago. Tlahuihpochtli are by no means the only kind of vampire discovered in the last decades, and many countries have reacted by banning all species of vampires.

Mexico didn’t ban vampires outright– too many of them run the drug trade up North– but Mexico City built walls and kicked them all out.

Domingo and Atl meet on a subway train as Atl is running away from a drug-inspired slaughter of her clan and Domingo, a lover of graphic novels featuring vampires, suspects what he may be looking at is a banned non-human.

Domingo will have to convince Atl to trust him, so he can be her daytime Renfield and help her escape both Mexico City and the killers who are still on her trail.

The summary almost makes it sound like an action book, but it isn’t. Don’t be fooled. This alternate Mexico is both viscerally real with its casual chauvinism and classism of the police force, markets selling fruits, garbage pickers and rich neighborhoods and fantastic as the author has obviously put serious thought into both the vampires and the ways people might hurt them. (hint: best ways are silver nitrate darts and cattle prod electric shockers.)

And its emotional. Domingo and Atl are not lovers, per se, although Domingo is fixated on Atl as a precious, beautiful thing, that he may have to kill for but comes only once in a life. Atl is looking for succor and comfort but may find more than she is looking for.

Dark, haunting, unflinching portrayal of some horrific fights and conditions of poverty. Not your average vampire book. I would seek out more by this author.