No, this isn’t “Big John The Vampire Slayer”.
To those who have already read the book, the sentence above shouldn’t come as a great mystery. Though it does need to be clarified. The second book in the Big John Irons series takes a big step toward revealing my greater vision for John’s story line. More so than the first book did. So to clear up any lingering doubt about the elephant in the room, yes the “dark man” from the story is indeed a vampire. I like to play coy about that fact when I’m writing, but I suppose it should be said. Yep. Vampire.
Volume 1 established John as a hulking and mysterious clockwork automaton, the most elite enforcer of mob boss Don Donelli (Ellie). Cold and murderous, John was a fearsome adversary to the gang that young Jack was a part of, but the noir, 1920s atmosphere of Chicago otherwise stayed pretty undisturbed.
Volume 2 broadens things somewhat, with the addition of another supernatural character. Chelsea Brink, beautiful daughter of millionaire industrialist Maxwell Brink, has taken the dark man’s interest. And believe me when I say this is not the sexy, sparkly breed of vampire that’s taken over pop culture in the last few decades. This is the kind of monster that chilled people’s hearts back in the ages when the written word was nothing, and human imagination was just another word for fear. He is ancient, unstoppable, and utterly callous in his regard for human life. A more than worthy opponent for the likes of John, who has been hired to deal with him. What follows is a struggle that strains the boundaries of the underworld John inhabits, consuming the very landmarks that make up Chicago. Many people die before all is said and done.
Coming back to what I said at the beginning, a reader could easily be tempted to think that John is a one-trick pony. That this has become a series in which a mechanical man takes on the mantle of hero and battles the vampire hordes. I’ve heard worse ideas, but that’s not what happens. If there’s anything I dislike as a writer, it’s being predictable. Vampires have been done to death, and although I’m quite pleased to make my mark on that particular genre, I’ll be moving on now.
Don’t worry. In his capacity as Ellie’s top man, John will face other supernatural enemies. I’ve got some ideas that you’re bound to enjoy just as much as my take on vampires. But best to think of John as someone akin to Batman. Sometimes he faces off with ghosts and goblins, other times not. All of it is dark, and it’s never dull.
It’s worth touching on John’s “special ability” that I introduced in this book. Yes, John can see ghosts. Call it a byproduct of his mechanical nature. John’s eyes see exactly what’s there, without any particular bias toward the living. It’s a power the other characters seldom suspect, because John treats ghosts like shit. In his view, they aren’t worth interacting with because nobody else does. So although they sometimes provide him useful information, he neither asks them, nor thanks them for it. Most of those he encounters are nothing but a nuisance. Spirits of the dead longing to make him their conduit, but John’s patience and indifference in these matters are near infinite. Ghosts frequently go mad trying to get his attention.
I’m very happy to have reached this milestone with John, but it’s just one of many. There are quite a few more books in the works, and I hope you’ll keep coming back to read them.
Feel free to ask a question in the form of a comment. Some I’ll answer, others I won’t, but I always look forward to hearing from you!