I’ve been an Adrienne Barbeau fan ever since I saw her as the daughter in the TV show Maude. I was amazed, though, to discover that she’s as good as a writer as she is on screen.
Love Bites, the second in her Vampyres of Hollywood series, is a funny, scary, tense thriller that demonstrates that Barbeau is more than just a pretty face. Beverly Hills homicide detective Peter King met writer/producer/star Ovsanna Moore during the investigation of a string of brutal murders dubbed the Cinema Slayer case. During the case of that investigation in which they vanquish the killer, Peter learns that Ovsanna is a 400-year-old vampire named Ovsanna Hovannes Garabedian, and is the top vampire in Tinsel Town. Things get a bit complicated, however, when they develop a more than casual interest in each other.
Now, someone wants Osvanna dead, and that someone is not human. Peter quite literally has his hands full as he juggles his feelings for Osvanna, the need to keep the relationship a secret from his boss (since, Osvanna is still a suspect in the Cinema Slayer case because the killer was a vampire, and Peter can’t tell his boss that they’ve already killed her), the jealousy of Osvanna’s personal assistant and lover, Maral, and the challenge of staying getting a jump on a pack of inhuman (meaning non-human) killers before the body count becomes unmanageable.
Barbeau nails the Hollywood scene as only an insider could, but she does it with a skill with words that few performers, accustomed to speaking words written by others, possess. The wittiness is as biting as a vampire’s fangs, and the action’s nonstop.
Some Amazon readers didn’t like the book because it postulated that a lot of old movie stars, like Theda Bara and Orson Wells, were vampyres, and it took swipes at the Republican Party. For me, these just added to the humor of the book, which was extremely well written. I give it five stars, and look forward to a sequel, because Peter and Osvanna are my idea of modern-day Hollywood’s Nick and Nora Charles. So there!