REVIEW: Skim Blood and Savage Verse (Offbeat Crimes Book 3) by Angel Martinez
Book three in the Offbeat Crimes series
Words damage more than just feelings as Carrington hunts feral books menacing the city.
When a ferocious book attacks Carrington at his own birthday party, he believes it’s an isolated incident. But similar books soon pop up all over town, menacing innocent people with harsh bits of poetry and blank verse that deliver damaging physical blows. It’s a frustrating case with too many variables and not enough answers, and the stakes go up with each attack.
With the help of his misfit squad mates at the 77th and the public library’s Rare Books Department, the missing pieces decrease but not Carrington’s vexations. His commanding officer rakes him over the coals at the beginning of every shift. His police partner has lost patience with what she sees as his delusional relationship choices and his inability to pick the right man in a vast field of two. City Hall demands that the books be stopped immediately. It’s enough to put a nutritionally challenged vampire off his skim blood.
Dear Ms. Martinez,
What a perfect book plot for book lovers. Or, hmmm, maybe not as I’d hate to think of the mountainous number of books that I own going feral on me and slinging insults my way; I’d be attacked by the very things I love. ::Shudder::
Carrington Loveless is a part of the 77th precinct in Philadelphia – yeah, the weird paranormal ones. The ones who can’t even do paranormal correctly. Carr is a vampire but he’s more vamp-lite as he can’t tolerate whole blood. He has to live on washed RBCs but he can tolerate light a little better than the vamp boys at State Paranormal who shunned him before he got sent to the Squad for Misfit Officers.
At a party given by his snooty Mainline mother, Carr gets attacked by insults thrown from an antique book that somehow got into his parents’ library. Carr thought it was just an anomaly until another, similar call comes in. Carr immediately falls for the hot bookstore owner – even if the store is one of these café/book places with nothing but the latest bestsellers. His partner Amanda rolls her eyes and hints that the cute, quiet librarian who specializes in Beatrix Potter and is eager to help the squad track down what demon books are terrorizing the city might be a better choice. But then Carr is used to her critiques of his boyfriends.
When the mayor and his minions get insult bashed next, the fire gets applied to the precinct’s feet by town hall for the squad to get this contained and fixed. But where did the books come from, why are they hurling (literally) cutting insults and which guy will be the one to go the distance with Carr?
The old saying that sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you doesn’t count anymore as these books mean business. Erasmus and Carr bond a bit over being able to place the insult that attacked Carr (Henry IV, Part I where Hal and Falstaff are trading insults). Erasmus is cute but Heath the bookstore owner has blue eyes that Carr can just dive into. Manda keeps snorting and giving Carr “are you for real??” looks.
The whole squad must get involved and a new character – a possible girlfriend for Leather Jacket, aka LJ – appears with some information, once Carr gets her to come into the station. Good thing Kash can speak better “outerwear” than Carr does or they’d still be trying to solve this thing.
I had to impatiently sigh a lot too given how obtuse Carr can be. Yet once he does figure out the right man, I laughed as said man told Carr he’d smack him if Carr kept calling himself unworthy.
Erasmus has some good ideas and suggestions that narrow down the search for the origin of the books – the man knows his Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll and Alexander Pope. Kash’s knowledge of philosophers gets a smile of approval from Ras and the fact that Ras has been talking to other officers besides Carr makes Carr – hurt a little. Oh Carr, get your vampire head out of your ass.
As with the other cases, it’s all squad members on deck and giving suggestions that yield a way to neutralize the foul insult flinging books. I laughed at the finalized phrase that Carr and his officers + an erudite Erasmus – use on the first one. And Carr does finally discover the perfect man for him; a man who knows who Carr is and accepts him just as he is, skim blood drinker and all. B