Solaris, out September 25 (US); October 11 (UK)
Former SHADE operative John Redlaw is on the wrong side of the Atlantic, and the wrong side of a group of vampire hunters…
The sequel to James Lovegrove’s first Redlaw novel maintains the pace and excitement level of the original book, using Redlaw’s British perspective on New York City to create the same level of “the same but different world” that worked so well in that story. Events in the first volume have consequences here – you don’t need to have read that to understand this, as the key points are provided when required – and it’s interesting to see the gamekeeper turn poacher as Redlaw strives to save the lives of vampires.
It’ll also be interesting to see how Americans react to this story. Like Lee Child before him, Lovegrove looks at the US with an outsider’s perspective, commenting on things that probably wouldn’t occur to native Americans, particularly the way that New York looks and feels.
There’s a gritty realism to the whole tale: the problems faced by members of Team Red Eye, and the interactions between them are all portrayed well. Redlaw’s new sidekick is sufficiently morally ambivalent that you really don’t know which way she’s going to jump at the climax of the adventure: Lovegrove builds up sufficient evidence to back her making either decision. There’s less discussion of philosophical matters in this than in the first book, a side to Redlaw that set him apart, and which I hope we see more of in future books.
Although a villain for a third novel would seem to be set up in these pages, perhaps that resolution should wait till later (unless, of course, Lovegrove is planning a trip to Japan…!) Redlaw on the defensive could make for a very different sort of tale…
Verdict: Action-packed, violent and horrific when necessary, the continuing adventures of John Redlaw are well worth following. 8/10