What is love? When thinking about writing the review for Mr Luedke’s novel (the fourth on the series of the Nightlife, following on from New York, Las Vegas and Paris) I came to the conclusion that most fictional novels are about love, in one way or another. Of course romantic novels make love their central theme, but other genres and even literary fiction orbit around love. Be it family love, love for art, love of animals, love for nature and the world, love of travelling, love of power and success, love of money, love of beauty, love of justice, love of revenge, love of God, love of science, love of philosophy, love of sex…I won’t push it further and say that even non-fiction is about love (although be it love of information, of exploring one’s life or that of others, or passion for a particular hobby or skill form the basis of a fair amount of other types of books) but I think you get my gist.
‘The Nightlife London’ is an urban paranormal novel with plenty of action, excitement, dangers, seedy locations, Afghan and Colombian gangs, criminals, prostitution, drugs, blood, sex…and vampires, werewolves, fallen angels, all within our contemporary world, but not as we know it. Mr Luedke has woven a net of complicated relationships, rewriting the folklore of vampires and the paranormal, giving the vampires’ bite and their venom wondrous and sensuous properties, mixing healing and life-giving properties with enslavement and extreme dependency. Like the Greek Gods, Mr Luedke’s vampires are much more than human, but at the same time very human, with their emotions, their weaknesses, their hatreds, their needs…and their love.
From the first novel, where he becomes a vampire, Aaron has tried to maintain his own sense of self (despite owing loyalty to Michelle and being connected, first to her and now to Urvashi, and able to read other people’s thoughts) and morality, and he’s been challenged by powers that are difficult to master, relationships that keep changing, and more than anything, by his human emotions. He’s still in love with Michelle, has a not fully-understood relationship with Urvashi (a fallen angel full of mystery and surprises), still mourns his wife Anastasia and to the mix is added Katia, one of the Russian wolves/allies sent by Urvashi. Would you be able to love somebody who smells of wet-dog? More to the point…Is it really love? Are any of the relationships in the book love? I guess that depends on your definition of love. I think although some of the relationships in the book are pretty alternative, dependent, predatory…they would still qualify as some kind of love.
I personally like the two new characters, Katia and Ivan and their loyalty to the pack. The clashes of personalities between vampires and wolves at the beginning of the novel make for some very humorous situations but things get more serious as the plot progresses and their mission to find Michael Jamison doesn’t go quite according to plan.
If you’re looking for thrilling action, passionate sex scenes (a word of warning, it’s an adult novel), urban underbelly settings, gore, paranormal, vampires, werewolves…you’ll find it all in the new novel of the Nightlife series. The writing is fast-paced; the plot is exciting and the characters well-drawn and very human. And as a bonus you might find yourself thinking about what is love, like I did. Maybe we’ll get the answer in the next novel. I’m looking forward to Moscow. I hope you are ready for it. I think I am.