FICTION

NVK

Other Pr. Nov. 2019. 352p. ISBN 9781590519356. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781590519363. F
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DEBUT Zhang Guo Xing, a prominent Shanghai businessman, enters a sizzling nightclub and encounters a young Western woman whose glow suggests that she, Naemi Vieno Kuusela (for now), may be more or other than she seems. But he ignores his suspicions, and they begin a torrid affair. Both keep secrets, but hers is the bigger. Mad Dog, Zhang’s blues-band bassist friend, is conveniently an expert on the supernatural, and from a scar on her inner elbow he immediately deduces that she is a blood-drinking ghost. Her account: she is an “auto” vampire (she drinks her own blood), and she has been around for 400 years, her name always a variation of NVK. Never changing, she can never stay in one place too long, and trouble always trails her. The book proceeds apace between the two narrators; tension mounts along with Zhang’s suspicions, but although something momentous always seems about to happen, it really doesn’t. An unexpected ending—though Naemi leaves, of course—sets the stage for a follow-up, forthcoming.
VERDICT A pleasurable if weird stroll through familiar grounds, vampire lite.

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