3 out of 5 stars
Cut to the Chase:
Blood Groove is either trying to be a campy 70’s-themed sexy vampire parody or a serious sexy vampire thriller that just happens to be set in the 70s. Honestly, I’m not really sure of the author’s intent, so at the point that one of the sexy vampires was shown to have an infestation of silverfish living inside of her, I decided to treat it as parody and this review will reflect that. If you are looking for a non-farcical treatment of sexy vampires I would look elsewhere. This isn’t really a genre in which I have a great deal of expertise, but I would be amazed if you can’t find something less ridiculous with more genuine characters. As a parody of the genre, I thought it was funny (if unnecessarily dark) and I would recommend it for that reason.
Ancient European vampire Baron Rudolfo Zginski is put into a state of suspended animation following an encounter with an English spiritualist in Wales in 1915 and then wakes up in Memphis, Tennessee in 1975. He is for some reason completely confounded by the comparatively minute changes that occurred from 1915 to 1975 despite the fact that he would have lived through most of rapid shifts of the industrial revolution. He eventually encounters a group of contemporary vampires who are almost completely unaware of how vampires actually work and live little better than beasts. Most of the book details his interactions with these fledgeling vampires and his adjustment to modern 1970s society.
Theres a lot of sex in this book overall but it really isn’t sexy at all. The vampires have some sort of magical ability to exude a sort of “sex beam” that makes its target very amorous regardless of what else is going on. Since almost all the sex occurs under the influence of this outside compulsion and is with or between vampires who are pretty much just animate, temporarily non-decomposing corpses, the sex is more stomach-turning than sexual. As a parody, it’s kind of a send up of the typical magical sexy vampire trope, and it’s so over the top that it is amusing. If the book is written seriously and this is supposed to be legitimately titillating, well, let me just say the author is into some pretty weird creepy stuff and I wouldn’t want to see what is in his basement.
This theme of dark humor or the author being legitimately awful runs throughout the book. The characters themselves very much fall into this dichotomy as well. Zginski is pretty much a ridiculous exaggeration of an Eastern European nobleman, the new vampires are either hillbilly rednecks or awful blaxploitation caricatures, and the humans are fairly randomly despicable for no discernable reason.
If you want to read this as a very dark, fairly gross comedy I would recommend it, but it certainly isn’t something I would recommend outside of that narrow niche.
Comparisons to Other Authors:
As a caveat, I am neither a great fan of nor by any means an expert in the sexy vampire genre. I guess as a straightforward sexy vampire story I would recommend Guilty Pleasures (Book #1 of the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series) by Laurell K. Hamilton. I wasn’t particularly fond of it but it was quite a bit better than this for being more legitimately sexy and having more interesting characters.