Title: Hard Day's Knight
Author: Josh Hartness
Page Count: 188 pages (epub format)
Publisher: Falstaff Books
Genre: urban fantasy
Copy for review provided by the author in anticipation of an honest review.
Children are missing.
The police are stumped.
Halloween is coming, with an ancient evil on the horizon.
The vampires are the good guys.
This is not your ordinary fall weekend in Charlotte, NC. Vampire private detectives Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood have been hired to keep a young client from being cursed for all eternity, but end up in a bigger mess than they ever imagined.
Suddenly trapped in the middle of a serial kidnapping case, Jimmy and Greg uncover a plot to bring forth an ancient evil into the world, and enlist the help of a police detective, a priest, a witch, a fallen angel and strip club proprietor to save the world. This unlikely band of heroes battles zombies, witches, neuroses and sunburn while cracking jokes and looking for the perfect bag of O-negative.
First off, you have to respect a book and, by extension, an author who credits a series of amazing teachers in the dedication of the book. I'm just saying.
Second, one thing that the world needs more of (and I am not being sarcastic so do not look at me like that) is snarky vampires. The world of vampire books has a sad tendency to take itself very seriously and to be Seriously Unamused if others don't share that seriousness. Hard Day's Knight does not suffer from this affliction, and reading the story was an excellent way to pass time if I may say so myself.
Vampire Jimmy Black is having an unfortunately bad day when we first meet him. He's been abducted by an obnoxious weasel of a guy who's managed through bullying and general insensitivity to piss off a seriously powerful witch. The witch laid a death curse on him and his entire family, and Jimmy turns to his partner in robot detective business, Greg Knightwood, to mastermind an escape. The plot thickens as it becomes apparent that this isn't schoolyard heartache at all, but seriously bad news for everyone.
The dynamics between Jimmy, Greg, and their friend, Father Mike (they call him Dad) are awesome. They were friends in high school, and now they have a working relationship that includes trying to solve mysteries. They snark, they argue, they make fun of each other; every page was full of excellent one liners and I really enjoyed watching them get their digs in at one another. Take this gem, from a sparring match where the issue of Greg being a dork has just come up:
“Dude, you still wear Underoos. Your geek-fu is so much stronger than mine it’s ridiculous. You are the Mister Miyagi of geek-fu. You are the geek ninja. You are the first person in history to be granted a P.H.Geek from Oxdork University."Love it! Jimmy and Greg's retelling of how they became vampires is my favorite "being turned into a vampire" backstory I've come across so far. As Jimmy and Greg barreled towards dealing with the bad guy and saving the day I couldn't help but get more excited as to how they would figure it all out, or hell, if they would figure it out.
People who take their vampire stories super seriously will probably develop a case of hurt butt over this story, but that just makes it better in my opinion. Anything that simultaneously lampoons a genre and celebrates it at the same time is excellent in my book.
This is the perfect summer book- smart, funny, snarky (have I mentioned this book is snarky?), and adventurous, with just enough self-reflection to keep things on track. We learn a lot about Jimmy, Greg, and Mike, and I was happy to learn that the second book, Back in Black, is already available so I can keep reading. It doesn't get better than that!
Josh Hartness has graciously offered up digital copies of Hard Day's Knight and the second book in the series, Back in Black!
This is a winner take all giveaway, which means that the winner of this giveaway will receive both books! To enter, simply fill out the form. Remember to comment on this post saying you entered the Hard Day's Knight giveaway for an added shot at the $25 Amazon gift card!