Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Stalking the Vampire"

Mike Resnick has won five Hugos and been nominated for twenty-six more.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new book, Stalking the Vampire, and reported the following:
In Stalking the Vampire, my detective hero's partner, a former white hunter who is now in her 60s, was bitten by her visiting nephew, and it falls to John Justin Mallory, the detective, to find both the nephew and the vampire who started the whole thing.

He gets word that the nephew may be in the City Morgue, and he goes there. It's All Hallows Eve, and all the ghosts and ghouls of this Manhattan are out celebrating. The morgue is filled with bodies, all of them dead, most of them not permanently so. Death may be messy, but in Mallory's Manhattan, it is not necessarily a stationary condition.

In the scene on Page 69, Mallory has come upon a zombie who doesn't really want to stay in the Tomb of the Unknown Policeman, and the demands he makes before he's willing to relent.

Page 69:

“That’s the whole point of the Tomb of the Unknown Policeman,” explained the official.

“But I’m not unknown! I’m Clarence Weatherbee IV, and I want them respecting me, not some poor slob who got shot breaking up a card game in the City Council’s executive bathroom.”

“I don’t think you get the idea at all,” said the official in frustrated tones.

“Of course I get it,” snapped Clarence. “That’s why I climbed out and ran away.”

“Look, Clarence, we’re consecrating the ground, we’re giving you an eternal flame, we’re…”

“I heard all that. The answer is no.”

“Is there no way you’ll reconsider?” asked the official.

Clarence narrowed his eyes in thought for a moment. “Okay,” he said at last. “Here’s a list of my non-negotiable demands.”

“I’m listening.”

“Listening only counts in horseshoes. Pull out your pen and write this down.”

“All right,” said the official, producing a pen and a small notebook.

“I like marigolds. There have to be marigolds around the tomb every day of the year.”

“But they’re not in bloom year-round.”

“I don’t care where you get ’em from. I’ve got to have them. Now, do I continue, or are we through already?”

“We’ll find them, even if we have to force them in the conservatory. What’s next?”

“I want a chapter of my favorite book to be read in front of the tomb every day at high noon.”

“Easily done,” said the official. “Something by Whitman, I’m guessing? Or perhaps Thoreau or Emerson?”

“I don’t know who wrote it, but there’s a copy of it in my desk back at the office.”

“And the title?”

Meter Maids in Bondage.”
Stalking the Vampire is an urban fantasy, a sequel to Stalking the Unicorn, which was reprinted at the same time (August, 2008) by Pyr Books.

Learn more about the author and his work at Mike Resnick's website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue