Half the Blood of Brooklyn – Charlie Huston

Title: Half the Blood of Brooklyn
Author
: Charlie Huston
Published by: Orbit
Publication date: 26 Dec. 2007
Genre: Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 221
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal Collection

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Blurb/Synopsis

“There’s a bad vibe in the air. Every Vampyre in Manhattan feels it in their bones . . . and in their blood. The mother of all gang rumbles is brewing between the divided Clans of the city’s undead. A battle royal for more turf that will tear the island from stem to stern. And just his luck, Joe Pitt is smack in the middle of it.
A rogue Vampyre who shunned Clan life, Joe’s his own man. Kind of. Thing is, there’s certain people have a claim on his talents. When they need someone who’s . . . expendable, they call on Joe Pitt. They’re calling now.
With war drums beating from the Hudson to the Harlem River, Joe’s been dispatched into the uncharted territory of Brooklyn to seal an alliance with the Freaks – a Clan who more than live up to their name. But across the bridge, things go south with savage swiftness, as Joe gets swept into a murderous family feud between crazed Clans that will paint the borough scarlet from Gravesend to Coney Island.”

Review

Half the Blood of Brooklyn is the third book in the Joe Pitt case files series and marks the middle of the road in series. It follows on the main plot line of the series directly and focuses on Joe Pitt, a Vampyre living in Manhattan between the cracks in vampyre society, working on the unwanted jobs that the clans want done – when they don’t want to get their own hands too dirty. We follow Joe Pitt doing one such job for The Society – a clan that we’re introduced too earlier on in the series – whilst his main focus is on his terminally ill girlfriend; Evie

Half the Blood of Brooklyn suffers from the dreaded ‘third installment’ syndrome – this isn’t to say that it’s a bad book as it is an enjoyable introduction to the wider world beyond Manhattan that Charlie Houston has laid the groundwork for in the previous two books; mainly leaving the island of Manhattan for the New York borough of Brooklyn – as the title suggests.

What I found lacking in this particular installment was what I picked up on in my previous review of the series. Joe Pitt goes somewhere – while suffering from some difficulty in navigating various clan territories – meets some new faces, doesn’t get along with them (gets beaten up, does some beating up) and it all ends up in a bloodbath. Half the Blood of Brooklyn follows a very similar, fundamental plot-line to No Dominion (The second book in the Joe Pitt series) only with intricate details having changed. Rather than fighting against and being captured by The Coalition the focus is on a Vampyre clan of a different flavour. This doesn’t render the book unenjoyable, but it does feel very much rinse and repeat. Which at the point starts to feel a little tiresome.

Whilst the main-plot of Half the Blood of Brooklyn is somewhat predictable there are elements within that are more considered and further the overall arc of the series in a much better way. The budding relationship with Evie and the drastic twists in which it takes I found to be very appealing and having her at the forefront of Joe Pitts mind in most of his actions was something that I found a refreshing change; Joe Pitt himself seems to have softened in this aspect of his character and it’s great too see his character developing beyond that is the simpleton ‘hard-man.’

There is the return of some familiar faces from previous books in the series, Evie, Terry Bird, Dexter Predo, Daniel and Phil. None of which seem to develop overly much – aside from Evie and her terminal illness getting much, much worse – but I feel that this is because of a distinct lack of page-time. The main focus is on Joe Pitt and the new gang that he encounters. Joe Pitt is his usual monosyllabic self and a lot of the story relies on being told via the mouth of the new gangs leader; Moishe. A character from previous books; The Count makes an appearance here and it’s somewhat unexpected but very much warranted considering the role he plays. If you didn’t dislike the character before, you will after this book!

The impression I was left with is that Half the Blood of Brooklyn is a ‘filler episode’ of something bigger. The ending pushes the reader on to the next book to find answers to rather giant questions; but if you can persevere with it and get through then Every Last Drop (Book #4 in the series) is a whopper and well worth the read too. Half the Blood of Brooklyn sets up a lot of elements for the next two books to follow, so it can’t be missed. It is a book to be endured and enjoyed for what it is – it’s violence is akin to the previous books and enjoyable for that reason. It’s wouldn’t be a good introduction to the series though, so if you’re reading this review out of no-where then I highly encourage you to pick up Already Dead first, but bare in mind that Half the Blood of Brooklyn isn’t the strongest book in the series, despite it’s relevantly important elements to the overall story-arc.

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