Welcome to this bonus Spotlight, Readers! We were kindly provided a copy of this book in advance of it being published and I wanted to get my impressions of it out there at least somewhat close to release. (Which was on the 4th of July! You can snag a signed copy right now. Or if you are at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, you can meet him and pick up a book at booth #1949, Bottled Monster Press near the stairs to the mezzanine.)
We are headed to Las Vegas for this adventure. I’ve only been there once myself, but it was a blast so I was eager to read and revisit ol’ Sin City in Russell Isler’s All In!
So, grab yourself a happy hour margarita, stack a plate as high as you can from the buffet and find yourself a pleasantly dark corner to hole up in while we live it up alongside Eddy Fry! Though… living might not be the most apt word to use…
- Author: Russell Isler.
Formats: Kindle, Paperback.
Price: $4.99 for Kindle, $15.99 for Paperback.
Length: 396 pages.
Number of books in the series: One at the time of writing, but it is a numbered volume so expect more!.
We open on a swanky penthouse suite above a casino, right there on the Strip. Unfortunately, our time to enjoy it is short – a team of amored and armed goons is blasting and barging their way into the place looking to leave its owner even less alive than he currently is.
The owner being Eddy Fry, the only vampire in Vegas.
Eddy has been attacked before. Usually, though, it’s liquored-up religious fanatics who catch suspicions regarding his nocturnal lifestyle… these guys are a different kettle of fish. They’re blunt force, but applied cleverly.
But not worrisome enough to keep our man Eddy away from the nightlife. You’d think spending 80 or so years in a place would make you bored with it, right? Not so for Mr. Fry. He owns the Golden Fortune Casino and its a place he loves dearly. It allows him to meet all kinds of fun people! From amorous soccer-mom widows to punky looking 20-somethings into leather and spikes!
Speaking of that latter option, she doesn’t seem to be into him, which is a pity because she smells nothing like anyone else he’s ever met. Eddy wants to know why, but misses his chance. She seems to know he’s a vampire right off the bat.
A new vampire has rolled into town. Rebecca Weir represents the interests of an East Coast House of vampires. Old money, high society, on the move. Vegas has, thus far, remained a fairly neutral location with only Eddy representing any kind of supernatural element in the city… and Eddy mostly keeps to himself. Still. Rebecca delivers him an ultimatum… you’re either In? Or you’re very, very much out.
Eddy needs help to save his own hide and turns to the leather and spikes lass I mentioned earlier – her name is Xenia. He figures that if she can recognize a bloodsucker on sight, she may also have some idea of how to deal with Rebecca. As it turns out, vampires aren’t the only supernatural critters roaming Las Vegas and things are about to get very dire for all of them if Rebecca comes into power. Suddenly, Eddy isn’t just dealing with his own problems, but with the problems of an entire community.
Can he get his life back? Does he care enough to help those who can’t help themselves? You need to read it to find out!
It’s been a while since I’ve read any Western vampire books. The last one, I believe, was a revisit of Salem’s Lot a couple years back. (I did read and Spotlight a really cool book by Bentley Little last year that dealt with Chinese vampires!) I will be entirely up front with you in saying that I tend to prefer my vampires to sit squarely in the horror category. I want vicious bloodsuckers, seductive, destructive, unfeeling and hungry.
But Eddy Fry? He’s an interesting situation. A conundrum. He was more of a monster when he was a man than as a vampire! He worked for the mob! He was one of those guys that came to your Grandpa’s corner store and said stuff like “Man, this is a nice store. Sure would be a shame if something happened to it. Hey, on a side note, how are your kneecaps? Attached, still? Good, good… sure would be a shame if something happened to those, while we’re at it.” (I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you know the kind of guy I’m talking about if you’ve ever watched any Mafia related media. The debt collector, protection racket enforcer kind of guy.)
When we meet him in the 2020s, though, he’s a pretty cool guy. Doesn’t use his vampiric powers more than he absolutely has to, doesn’t drink from the unwilling, isn’t ruling Sin City with an iron fist. He’s just running a casino and enjoying the night life of a city where night life is key. As such, despite my predilection towards more monstrous vamps, I really enjoyed reading about him.
We’re told the story in two parts; the Now and the Then. Now is the story where Eddy meets his match in an invading vampire empire. The Then is Eddy getting tangled up in the mob life due to some poor decisions. The thing I found most interesting is that a lot of the people and events mentioned in the Then portions are based on real people and events. Russell Isler has done what must have been a mountain of research on the Mafia scene in 1950s and 60s Las Vegas to really bring his story together and give it a sense of authenticity. I always appreciate stuff like that.
All in all, All In is a really fun read! If you like modern takes on vampires, mob related stories and stories about Las Vegas in general, I highly recommend it!