Today I am bringing you my review on the wonderful Scouse Gothic by Ian Mckinney – Big thanks to Ian for providing me with a copy of the book for review, and as always thanks to Rachel from Rachels Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour!
Melville wakes with a pounding headache – there had been too many hangovers recently, but this felt different. What had he been drinking last night? Then he remembered – it was blood.
Enter the bizarre world of Scouse Gothic where a reluctant vampire mourns a lost love and his past lives, where a retired ‘hitman’ plans one more killing and dreams of food, and a mother sets out to avenge her son’s murder, and , meanwhile, a grieving husband is visited by an angry angel.
Set in present day Liverpool, vampires and mortals co-exist, unaware of each other’s secrets and that their past and present are inextricably linked.
But as their lives converge, who will be expected to atone for past sins?
The first in a series, Scouse Gothic: The Pool Of Life… And Death is an addictive and entertaining read. I love a good vampire story, and this one is a breath of fresh air in terms of how it tackles the whole vampire trope. No pale skin, no aversion to sunlight, no unearthly beauty. Just lovesick Melville, a vampire who doesn’t seem overly keen on being a vampire, abstaining from blood only to fall off the wagon every now and then much in the same style as an alcoholic.
I’ve never been to Liverpool before but all the detailed descriptions of the city, past and present, painted a vivid picture in my mind and had me feeling as if I’d been strolling the streets myself! With the chapters smoothly transitioning between past and present, it was interesting to gain insight on Melvilles past, learning about his previous stints in the city over the years.
Alongside Melville, we of course have a whole host of other interesting, entertaining and funny characters. There’s Sheryl, the bold, cocktail loving vampire who stumbles into Melvilles life, and Lathom, the antique dealer who moonlights as a hired assassin. We also have Peter, a night shift concierge in an apartment complex, and his newest companion, Frank the guardian angel/talking pigeon. Now, I know Frank sounds like a bit of an odd addition there, even for a vampire novel, but trust me he’s just the right brand of weird. In fact, I think the sarcastic, grumpy little pigeon is my favourite character in the whole novel!
Between all those guys, and plenty other great characters who slot in over the course of the story, this book hooks you in right from the start. As the characters seemingly separate plot lines slowly converge together, it gets harder and harder to put the book down. I’m excited to go pick up book two!
About The Author
Ian was born and bred in Liverpool but left for university in the 1980’s when the city appeared to be in a terminal decline. After qualifying he worked in London and Essex before finally settling in Shropshire with his wife and daughter.
However a set of circumstances meant that he returned to live in the city once more. What he found was a modern vibrant city. The derelict buildings from his youth had been restored and repurposed. A dock was now a tourist attraction, a church was now a night club, a gaol now a hotel.
It was then that he had the idea for Melville a vampire who had known the city in its prime and had now returned to it. Initially the story of Melville was written as a short story, but the more Ian explored the city the more he realised there were many more tales to tell than just Melville’s. That was when the idea for Scouse Gothic was born.
The first book ‘A Pool of Life ..and Death’ , was very well received and has now been followed by a further two books. Ian continues to spend his time between Liverpool and Shropshire and is currently working on two further projects.
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