The Radleys

Free Pr: S. & S. Dec. 2010. c.384p. ISBN 9781439194010. $25. F
Dark humor pervades Haig's (The Possession of Dr. Cave) entertaining vampire family soap opera. While Helen was engaged to Peter Radley 17 years ago, his brother Will secretly whisked her off for one sex-filled "vampire conversion" night in Paris. A pregnant Helen then told Peter the baby was his, and together they decided to live like normal people and follow the guidelines set down by the Abstainer's Handbook, written for those who no longer wish to live the traditional vampire life. Complications arise as their children, Rowan (Will's biological son) and Clara, begin to acquire vampire characteristics. Clara is the first to change when one night a thuggish classmate attacks her. The fangs pop out, and Clara does what any vampire would naturally do. At last Helen agrees with Peter that it is time to explain their heritage to the children. At first the Radleys seem to be the stereotypical dysfunctional family, but each of them gradually shows a depth of character that helps them to pull together when outside forces attempt to destroy them.
VERDICT This witty novel offers a refreshing take on an oversaturated genre. Already optioned by director Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), this is sure to attract reader attention. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/10.]

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