(Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)
Vampire novels are not something I enjoy reading. Most of the time, they’re about nothing other than good-looking men sitting around half-naked and bemoaning eternity; and chasing after some well-endowed woman, having sex with her, falling in love, then whining because she’s gonna kick the bucket someday. But when Knuckle Supper by Drew Stepek landed on my desk, I was a little intrigued.
R.J. is a heroin addict and leader of the Knucklers, a vampire gang in Los Angeles. Together with his friend Dez, they swipe some drugs from under another group’s nose and sell them themselves. As per usual though, every action has a reaction, and R.J. finds himself having to deal with some angry gang members, as well as reluctantly taking care of a 12-year-old girl who’s living with him. However, when these two things collide, R.J. finds himself on a quest for revenge that just might help him rediscover his humanity.
Knuckle Supper combines a splatterpunk aesthetic and a noir-ish plot into one dish that is fun to read. R.J. makes for an interesting protagonist whom we slowly grow to like over the course of the book. The story is filled with Stepek’s creative alterations of the vampire mythos – one of my favorites being how these vampires came to be – as well as observations about society and all its accoutrements.
The biggest issue with Knuckle Supper is how the plot unfolds. Several chapters will fly by and hold the reader by the throat; then, the plot will suddenly fall into a ditch for a couple chapters and will nearly bore the reader to death. Also, the humor is very hit-or-miss, and it sometimes feels as if situations are set up for the sole purpose of attempts at humor, which usually fail.
Overall though, Knuckle Supper was an entertaining enough read and left me eager to read the sequel, Knuckle Balled. Knuckle Supper is set to be released this Thanksgiving by Blood Bound Books. Watch for it.