This novel is the second in the Colt Harper series. So you have only yourself to blame if you spoil the first book by reading on.
After an enforced stint in community theatre, Colt Harper—the last of the vampire cats—has fallen in love and found his sensitive side, and he hates it. The Council still want to punish him. Worse, ever since he released the soul of the body he’s possessed, a supernatural presence has been stalking him. And worse still, he’s lost the respect of all cats. He’s still got a few favours to call, and a dimensional travel sceptre, but even if he can avoid getting killed can he avoid becoming decent and respectable?
Where the previous volume parodied the paranormal romance staple of a hero who is apparently uncaring but actually feels deeply, this book parodies the trope of a good vampire struggling for redemption; instead of fearing he might slip, Colt is hampered by having become all squishy and nice compared to how he was.
Except this isn’t really a vampire book. Colt is still, technically, a blood-drinker since the change in his circumstances at the end of the previous novel that doesn’t drive the plot.
Instead, with travel to dimensions where demons are only a threat to short people, characters ending up in the wrong series, and walk-ons from the author, this is closer to a Monty Python film about dimensional travel than either Western horror or the Asian myths that inspired vampire cats in the first place.
However, the book is not simply farcical situations and comical dialogue strung together. There is a consistent underlying plot about abuse of power and bureaucratic failure that is only one degree away from being bleak realism. Indeed this novel features one of the most plausible explanations for why fixing a mistake using time-travel requires racing off immediately rather than carefully planning and provisioning.
Colt remains a sarcastic, irreverent, self-centred, yet charming protagonist. Active but in pursuit of less than admirable goals, he is not so much an anti-hero as a villain burdened by his better angels. Displaying consistency with the previous volume yet developing plausibly from it, he is likely to engage readers who like the first book or who enjoy a slightly melodramatic antagonist more than a clean-cut superhero.
The supporting cast display the same ill-virtued yet pleasing personalities, providing a contrast to Colt’s own version of error while indulging in equal wilful blindness to the benefits of virtue. This goes double for Puxty, whose blatant attempt to make the book about how to pronounce her name correctly only adds credence to the accusations of not paying enough attention to Colt’s story that he raises.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I recommend it to readers seeking humorous urban fantasy.
I received an advanced review copy from the author with a request for a fair review.