The overall intriguing theme of the new Titan Books’ vampire crime novel “Angel of Vengeance” by Trevor Munson is relying on the past to get to where you are today. Munson, who first came up the idea for a vampire book and the main character, Mick Angel, in 2005, saw that the road to publishing his novel was coming to an end. So a year later, he turned to Hollywood to turn his manuscript into a teleplay. After the success the resulting paranormal romance drama, CBS’ 2007-08 series ‘Moonlight,’ found, Munson rightfully returned to the publishing world to finally release “Angel of Vengeance”.
The book follows Mick Angel, an L.A.-based private detective and a vampire. While recalling his transformation into a vampire by his wife Coraline in the mid-1940s, Mick is hired by a burlesque dancer, Reesa Van Cleef, who wants him to find her 14-year-old sister Raya, who ran away from home. Fighting his ever-growing attraction to Reesa and the numerous drug dealers and thugs who seem to know where Raya is but won’t tell him, Mick is determined to find her no matter what the cost. What makes the case harder is the police’s persistence that Mick is somewhat involved. He has to balance his insistence that he’s innocent with the obstacles that continually block him from gaining any leads in the case.
Despite having served as the inspiration for ‘Moonlight,’ which starred Alex O’Loughlin as Mick (his last name was changed to St. John) and Sophia Myles as his love interest Beth Turner (who doesn’t appear in the novel), Angel of Vengeance definitely takes a much darker route than the show. Following in the footsteps of other self-loathing vampires, such as Louis de Pointe du Lac in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, Mick continuously struggles with his need for blood and his desire not to kill innocent people. Even though vampires are supposed to be evil antagonists, Mick’s willingness and need to protect the innocent gives him a humility and relatablity that will make readers sympathize with him.
Munson has rightfully called Mick Angel “far more cynical and despondent about his situation” than Mick St. John. In the novel, it seems as though Mick’s only reason to live is to help Reesa find Raya, as his hatred towards Coraline for turning him into a vampire is always at the forefront of his mind. Munson also rightfully said that at least in ‘Moonlight,’ Mick has Beth, who “serves as a sort of lifeline to Mick’s lost humanity. As a result, she is the only one he’s ever met who allows him to feel similar to how he did when he was alive, and despite it’s inherent difficulties, this relationship gives him hope for the future.”
Munson also deserves credit for including detailed descriptions of Mick’s questionings and attacks on potential suspects who may be hiding information about Raya. Readers will definitely feels as though they are right along side Mick as he enters such places as the nightclub Blue Veil to question those people he feels may have been involved in Raya’s disappearance. Munson achieves the hard task of getting his readers to identify more with a vampire than those humans he’s attacking; Mick just wants to save a seemingly innocent girl, and achieve justice by attacking those who are just trying to hide their involvement with her.
Munson’s themes of addiction, transcendence and redemption, which motivate Mick to lead a pure life, were rightfully in the forefront of the novel. Munson never lost his original vision of Mick when he was writing and executive-producing ‘Moonlight;’ he still described Mick Angel as a “loner who hates what he is and who wants nothing more than to reconnect with his lost humanity, and who misses the intense emotions and senses from when they were alive.”
Fans of ‘Moonlight’ will definitely enjoy Angel of Vengeance, but may be disappointed that there is no strong romantic sub-plot with Beth. Part of the reason Mick St. John was so appealing was that he could form a true, intense romantic relationship with a woman, without the desire to kill her. But Munson has said that he’s interested in writing a follow-up to “Angel of Vengeance”, tentatively titled Guardian Angel, which would explore the relationship between Mick and the girl named Elizabeth he saved from Coraline in the novel.
Hopefully Munson will eventually publish “Guardian Angel”, as Mick is a genuinely likable character. While fans of ‘Moonlight’ will definitely be interested to see an in-depth look on how Mick became a vampire, and to follow another one of his detective cases, Angel of Vengeance is definitely a great choice for all fans of the vampire genre.
Written by: Karen Benardello