Snowflakes! It’s back! The recaps you…well, I don’t actually know if you love them, because none of you comments, but I’m pretty sure you don’t hate them! So! The recaps you probably don’t hate are back!
This time, we have Intimations of Mortality, a novel which, as the jacket copy tells us, uses a magical doll to thrust Nick into the mortal world again – a world run by vampires! Including Vamp!Nat! Vamps and humans, living together – it’s madness!
This one is by Susan M. Garrett, and right from go, we’re off to a more interesting start than with Sizemore, who wrote our last book. Check out the first line:
The dead brought them together.
That? Is a hell of an opener. If you knew nothing about these characters, you’d be intrigued, right? I mean, I would be. I would kill for an opening line like that.
So, clearly, Nick’s down at the morgue, visiting Nat, who just got back from a conference in New York. We get a lot of backstory in the first couple of pages, and I’m not terribly keen on it, but you know what? I honestly think that’s a literature fashion thing. Like, it used to be that you could just dump some backstory in with a little description in the first chapter – that you could take the time to set your scene. These days, it doesn’t fly. The first two pages are solid exposition. Some of it is good description – the scent of blood in the morgue, how it calls to Nick – and some of it is boring.
He was a Toronto homicide detective. Natalie Lambert was a forensic pathologist.
Anyway. So after we get a bunch of tortured rumination on being a vampire (barf), we get to the body Nat’s got on the table. It was a kid who died on a dare, thought Nat calls him a “jumper”. He slid on some ice and fell out of a bungee tower, and there’s a decent description of the crime scene. Nick is all hung up on how stupid it was, that a kid should die in an accident, when he – so evil! – can just go on living and living and living.
Nat: A waste of life is always tragic.
Nick: But some of us don’t know what a tragedy it really is. To throw his life away – his humanity – on something so stupid –
Nick asks how the conference was, and Nat’s relieved that he changed the damned subject. Who wouldn’t be? She’s jazzed about a new laser scalpel, and she borrowed some slides from a presentation on liver dissection. Nick’s grossed out by that, so she shows him what she brought back for him – an item he specifically requested.
He’s suddenly excited that she got it, and she talks about how the lady she picked it up from was fucking weird, and Nick says, “She lives in Greenwich Village.” Nat’s all, “Yeah, that’s not an explanation, open the stupid box.” I’m paraphrasing.
It’s a doll. A tiny little doll, with a painted-on face and hair and a little dress. Nick asks if there were instructions. Natalie does not say, “Yes. Make it go with Barbie to the mall and ride My Little Ponies in their time off.” But I wish she had.
No, the instructions are thus:
“She said to keep it with you. That it would lead you to what your heart desires most.”
Yeah. This doesn’t sound like bullshit at all.
Nat points that out – obliquely – and Nick says that science isn’t doing him much good. Nat says she could fast-track it for him: there are all sorts of people who would love to lock him up and do experiments on him. Nick backtracks and says that’s not what he meant. Sure, he has all the time in the world – but Nat doesn’t.
Nick and Nat part, and Nick heads over to the Raven. We get more exposition about Lacroix in the guise of Nick’s thoughts, and of course because of that filter, we get this gem:
His interest in such games of power had paled over time, and Lacroix had focused the daunting combination of his experience and abilities on the one thing that had continued to elude him – Nick’s insistence upon maintaining the mastery of what was left of his own soul and his refusal to accept the inevitability of the nature that Lacroix had bestowed upon him. Perhaps Lacroix saw the club as a means to his ends, although it was equally possible he was using it merely as an expedient tax dodge.
First, that opening sentence is a mess. 63 fucking words. SIXTY-THREE. Don’t do that. That’s awful.
Secondly, I talked about this in this week’s TV recap, but come on. Lacroix loves you, Nick. He may not be good at it. He may not really know what love is. He may confuse control for love. But that doesn’t matter. You don’t get to say that Lacroix doesn’t love you, or that he makes plans in regard to you out of anything other than that love. His motivation isn’t just to fuck up your life. He wants you to be happy, and you so clearly aren’t. He’s just trying to be a good sire, Nick.
Third, a tax dodge? Really? I mean, maybe if the club were often empty, or Lacroix took no responsibility for running it properly, but it seems to always be full of people and have a stocked bar and certainly he’s keeping up on his licensing and shit. Seems like a lot of work for a tax dodge – and one that he has to pay property taxes and business taxes and licensing fees and sales taxes on, at that.
More exposition. Janette’s gone; Vachon avoids Nick; Urs dances. Nat’s been gone for a week, so Nick’s been in every night. Lacroix calls him a “regular”. The bartender pours him some cow blood – not out of a barrel, and not with a gravy boat, unfortunately. No one calls it a “bovine brewski“, either, so thank god for that.
Nick snipes that Lacroix has a show to do, and Lacroix says he just signed off. His topic tonight? “[S]elf-delusion – something with which you’re intimately acquainted, I believe.” Lacroix opens a bottle of human blood, and Nick gets distracted from his monologue about the show by the scent of it. More exposition about how Nick doesn’t kill, and Nat thinks that any blood consumption is holding him back. Blah blah. Lacroix keeps talking, though, and brings Nick’s attention back with the words “heart’s desire.”
Nick feels the doll in his pocket, while Lacroix asks if he knows what he really wants.
He says he doesn’t want this. Lacroix counters that he probably wouldn’t be different, were he mortal. Nick suddenly realizes that he doesn’t want to be in the Raven, doesn’t want to be around vampires, and throws some money on the bar and leaves. “But where, Nicholas, will you go from here?”
It’s a good question. It rattles Nick, who takes the doll out to stare at again as he sits in his car, wondering if being mortal really will solve all his problems. I mean, we all know the answer to that – this book is basically Nick’s version of The Fantasy of Being Thin. But Nick has to decide if he still really wants it – if it is, in fact, his heart’s desire.
And there we end an interminable chapter of exposition. Until next week, Snowflakes!Show RitS Post List