Review – Only the Dead Know Brooklyn by Chris Vola

POSTED ON May 16, 2017 BY Austine IN Book Review

Review – Only the Dead Know Brooklyn by Chris Vola
Only the Dead Know Brooklyn
by Chris Vola
Published on May 30, 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books
Format: ARC
Pages: 304
Genres: Adult, Horror, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Ryan Driggs has lived in Brooklyn for 128 years, 96 of them as one of the last members of a tribe of blood-eating immortals who have called the borough home since before colonial times. Besides the occasional hard-to-control thirst, his life in the twenty-first century is uneventful, until he meets Jennifer, a human from Manhattan with whom he falls in love.

Unable to leave Brooklyn without reverting back to his original, cancer-stricken human state, Ryan knows he must tell Jennifer who and what he really is. But before he can find the words, she is kidnapped by a tribe of Manhattan vampires and Ryan discovers that, for a reason unknown to him, he is a target too. After contacting the oldest member of his tribe, a former slave named Frank Lafayette, and after an attempt on their lives that leaves two of Frank s employees dead, Ryan realizes he s been thrust into a world that is more dangerous than anything he d imagined.

As he travels to Manhattan to rescue Jennifer, forsaking his immortality, he gets caught up in a roller coaster of violence, lies, manipulation, and a power struggle that stretches back thousands of years. In a world where conspiracies are more than just theories and where he is the key to an ancient secret, Ryan must decide to fight or forsake both of the species he s called his own.

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This book was provided by the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Knight's Judgment
Writing Style

I think I was expecting too much from this book. I’m always on the lookout for new vampire stories because, frankly, YA vampires nearly destroyed my love of urban fantasy and I’ve been slowly trying to recover from that. Only the Dead Know Brooklyn puts a spin on vampires in that they’re undead warriors bound to the region in which they were turned. If they leave, they return to their mortal human self.

Okay, cool, I like it, adds a nice twist. It brought in the inclusion of Native Americans into the history of these vampires which I liked.

But in all of that I spent far too much time trying to read this book instead of enjoying it.

Vola likes details. A LOT of details. I found one reason after another to set this book aside because, while it’s well written technically, it was putting me to sleep.

To start, the protagonist Ryan Driggs has been a live for a while now. He has a girlfriend but their relationship isn’t doing so hot. And then these mysterious people start knocking out members of his tribe (the other vampires). Oh, and then they kidnap his girlfriend and take her into the territory that his genetics won’t let him pass into without reverting back to Mortalville.

Great, you just read the back cover synopsis. That’s also the first third of the book. Now I don’t expect the synopsis to give away any spoilers because what would be the point? But it took nearly 100 pages for anything to actually happen.

Ryan is just a boring guy. I thought is personality was pretty bland and whether it was that or the writing style, I never cared about him. His people are being hunted, his girlfriend is kidnapped, there’s all this tension in the air and I don’t care. I have no reason to because I haven’t been given one. There’s too much time spent setting up for this supernatural thriller that it lost the thrill.

Not a good sign.

The action is amped up with plenty of death as tends to follow vampires but it fell short due to that lack of reader investment.

After spending over a month working to get through this book, I managed to finish it but can’t say that I can recommend it to anyone unless they’re looking for an interesting vampire spin that takes you through a walk of Brooklyn and Manhattan. I was really disappointed that I couldn’t get into it and though I appreciated those bits of uniqueness spread throughout the book, they didn’t make up for a bland protagonist and an uninteresting story. This is the first I’ve read from this author and I’m not sure if I will read any others, if this book is an indication of what to expect. It certainly wasn’t a good fit for me.

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