best way to sum this book up is to quote the opening lines: ‘Felix
Gomez went to Iraq a soldier. He came back a vampire.’ Then make
him a PI, throw him in Denver's Rocky Flats to investigate an outbreak
of nymphomania, and stir. A lot. It's great fun and impossible to describe
but let's just say that it's a very different (and much more comedic)
take on the vampire-PI than Charlie Huston's.”
Weinman, Picks of the Week, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
opening lines of Mario Acevedo's debut novel The Nymphos of Rocky
Flats—‘I don't like what Operation Iraqi Freedom has
done to me. I went to the war a soldier; I came back a vampire.’—perfectly
sum up the ambiance of this fast-paced and charmingly irreverent blood-sucking
decidedly unique twist on the much trodden vampire mythos, Acevedo's
first novel chronicles the adventures of Felix Gomez, a former Army
sergeant turned private detective investigating an outbreak of nymphomania
at a former U.S. Department of Energy nuclear weapons facility in Colorado.
When an old college buddy working as the Rocky Flats Assistant Manager
for Environmental Restoration contacts Gomez with a lucrative—and
intriguing—case revolving around bizarre occurrences of nymphomania
in female employees and a huge government cover up, the undead detective
quickly accepts. But what he thought would be an open-and-shut case
turns into a massive conspiracy involving radioactive waste, Area 51,
extraterrestrial biological entities, fanatical Transylvanian vampire
hunters, Tantric mysticism and, of course, plenty of over-sexed women.
Comparable to Andrew Fox's Bride of the Fat White Vampire and
Charlie Huston's Already Dead, Acevedo's debut offering—which
has one of the most memorable titles to come along in years—marks
the unveiling of an ingeniously witty and surprisingly polished storyteller.
Fans of authors like Paul Di Filippo, Cory Doctorow and Steve Aylett
will cherish this highly unusual and impressive read. Two fangs up!”
—Paul Goat Allen, Barnes & Noble science fiction/fantasy newsletter
The author of this book must be a vampire, because he had me hypnotized
from page one. I defy anyone to read the first chapter of Acevedo’s The Nymphos of Rocky Flats and not fall under its spell. Vampire
P.I. Felix Gomez is irresistibly entertaining.”
Riordan, Edgar Award-winning author of Mission Road
unique. A smooth combination of Anne Rice and Michael Connelly, with
a generous portion of Dave Barry. Loaded with thrills, sex, violence,
and laughs, both mystery fanatics and horror lovers will find plenty
to love with this page-turning debut. Acevedo is a writer to watch!”
—JA Konrath, author of Bloody Mary.
Acevedo has written a winner! Besides being the first in a series, The
Nymphos of Rocky Flats is also the debut of this talented and funny
Latino author. Felix Gomez went to Iraq to fight for a cause, now he's
home a little older, a lot wiser, and afflicted with vampirism. Settling
into his new career as a private detective, he travels to Denver when
an old friend asks him to investigate strange events occurring at the
government installation at Rocky Flats. It seems that all the female
workers are turning into nymphomaniacs and nobody knows why. Felix vows
to uncover the cause whatever it takes, but may have bitten off more
than he can chew. Between the vampire hunters, government assassins
and horny women on his tail, he just may die trying.
the vampire mythos, the author allows his monsters to face the daylight
with a liberal dose of SPF 90 sunscreen. The new breed of vamp isn't
against using modern technology to get the job done, even if it means
blood comes out of a bag and guns are standard issue. Action packed
and full of fun, brimming with pop culture and chock full of interesting
characters this one has something for everyone. Watch out Christopher
Moore, there's a new author on your block!”
debut novel succeeds largely because Acevedo gleefully acknowledges
that it takes a lot to make a vampire story interesting anymore. PI
Felix Gomez, an ex-soldier who became a vampire while serving in Iraq,
uses his supernatural powers to solve mysteries that befuddle mere mortals.
When a friend in the Department of Energy asks him to look into an outbreak
of nymphomania among female guards at a plutonium processing plant in
Colorado, things get really weird: hypnotized personnel talk cryptically
about Roswell and something called Project Redlight, trained assassins
start decimating the local vampire community and an amorous dryad shows
up to assist in the detective work. As though this weren't enough, Felix
refuses to drink human blood, an ethical stand that attenuates his uncanny
powers and results in intriguing plot complications. Not everything
adds up by the book's dizzying finale, but most readers will be too
charmed by the crisp style to notice the loose ends. Acevedo doesn't
add anything new to the modern vampire tale, but he has a lot of fun
sounding its bells and whistles.”
Weekly (Mar.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division
of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Sex and Chicano Vampires
his debut novel, Mario Acevedo lets us know early on that his protagonist,
Felix Gomez, is nothing like your father’s private investigator:
‘I don’t like what Operation Iraqi Freedom has done to me.
I went to the war a soldier I came back a vampire.’ We’re
immediately thrown into the hell of war as we follow then-Sergeant Gomez
and his infantry division in combat along the Euphrates valley searching
out fedayeen guerrillas in a village south of Karbala. Gomez spots a
group of what he believes to be the enemy apparently armed with RPGs
or other weapons. Based on his confirmation, the division’s lieutenant
gives the signal to open fire and they do. When the lieutenant orders
cease fire, Gomez’s ‘heart pounded in euphoric victory’
and he acknowledges that the ‘moment was exhilarating.’
But the thrill quickly dissipates as Gomez and his comrades discover
that they’ve just massacred a family. Only a young girl shows
signs of life and Gomez tries to stop the bleeding from a hole near
her navel. But it’s hopeless. In a guilty daze with blood on his
hands, Gomez wanders until he comes upon a stranger with eyes that shone
like a wolf’s the man immediately controls Gomez with nothing
more than his gaze. Gomez confesses about what he has done and that
he wants to be punished for his crime. The stranger obliges and bites
Gomez on the neck. Gomez feels the transformation occurring and asks
what’s happening. The stranger answers: ‘…I’ve
given you what you wanted. A punishment even worse than death. I’ve
given you immortality. As a vampire.’ Back in the states, Gomez
makes a living as a private investigator using special contact lenses
and plenty of makeup and sunblock to venture out in the daylight. Gomez
is a vampire with a conscience: he refuses to drink human blood because
of his guilt over the massacre. He makes due on animal blood which slightly
diminishes some of his vampire powers such as scaling walls and transforming
into a wolf. But even in this weakened state, Gomez still outpaces humans
with supernatural powers so that his private investigation practice
becomes almost legendary. Gomez’s successes lead to a lucrative
job offered by his old college roommate, Gilbert Odin, who now is the
Assistant Manager for Environmental Restoration at Rocky Flats, which
had been a nuclear weapons plant. It seems that the Department of Energy
needs to uncover the cause of an outbreak of nymphomania among female
personnel at the plant. To complicate matters, the vampire society known
as nidus, or the web, has its own investigation going into a deadly
group of vampire hunters who seem to show up every time there’s
an outbreak of nymphomania. This setup allows Acevedo to take us on
a wild ride—often with a wink and a nod—delving into everything
from lying war mongers and vengeful scientists to Homeland Security
cover-ups and alien abduction. And let’s not forget that vampire
stuff. Acevedo gleefully debunks vampire lore and creates new rules
of the game with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. In the
end, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats delivers fast paced fun topped
off with wry humor and dead-on social commentary. One wonders who will
play Felix Gomez in the screen adaptation.”
Daniel Olivas, La Bloga.
built-in garlic factor usually puts me off vampire books, but Mario
Acevedo has come up with such a fascinating character—Iraq war
veteran Felix Gomez, who is a private detective as well as a vampire—that
I was won over. Gomez, who saw so much human blood in Iraq, finds other
nutrients to keep him alive. And Acevedo, a former Desert Storm infantry
officer and helicopter pilot, has shrewdly sucked up enough inside details
to make the plot of his first novel (which includes outbreaks of nymphomania
and murder at a secret government facility) a jaunty and even touching
Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune
vamps and vampires
by Vince Darcangelo, Boulder Weekly
comes easy for private detective Felix Gomez when investigating strange
goings-on at the former Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant. His old college
roommate, who hired him for the gig, is acting quite suspicious, as
are the women he questions regarding a recent outbreak of nymphomania
among plant employees. (The infected women disrupt Gomez' interrogations
by aggressively attempting to seduce him, of course.) Meanwhile, Gomez
has fallen head over heels in love with a sultry forest sprite with
a well-endowed ex. Oh, and if he wasn't feeling insecure enough already,
a team of Romanian vampire hunters is trying to kill him.
Gomez learns quick that it's not easy being a vampire in Colorado.
the best-titled book released this year, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats is the debut novel from local author Mario Acevedo, part one of a trilogy
centered on Gomez: private eye/vampire/Gulf War veteran. But though
this is his first published novel, Acevedo is no rookie. The Nymphos
of Rocky Flats is the seventh book he's written. As he tells it,
it just took him a while to find his voice.
one time I wanted to write really serious books," says Acevedo. "Over
the course of time the people in my critique group would tell me, 'You
know Mario, you're not as smart as you are smart ass. That's your strength.
Write to your strength.' So I did that."
result is The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, a humorous, irreverent
tale of vamps and vampires that bridges the dark absurdism of Christopher
Moore and Wes Anderson and the gratuitous camp of Army of Darkness.
likens his book to another equally absurd film.
studied the movie The Big Lebowski because I loved the way they used
humor when dealing with some really dark subjects-—the violence,
the kidnapping and all that," he says. "They were able to
use humor to have levity, but at the same time it didn't diminish the
darkness of the story."
a winning formula, for underneath all the comedy is the dark cloud of
Gomez' past and how he came to be a vampire. The book begins with Gomez
as a soldier fighting in the current war in Iraq. He and his men mistakenly
ambush a family, and, guilt-ridden, Gomez asks for punishment and is
turned into a vampire following the attack. The account is based on
an incident Acevedo witnessed when serving in the first Gulf War—minus
the vampire part.
just really traumatized everybody," he says. "I was at this
MASH hospital, just visiting. That's when they brought this little girl
in. All these nurses and doctors were just really upset. It was just
a horrible thing. And this little girl, her family is gone, she's all
by herself, she's with people who don't speak her language. That episode
stuck in my head."
the Gulf War Acevedo worked at Rocky Flats. As a result, the government
needed to review and approve The Nymphos of Rocky Flats prior
you write anything about Rocky Flats, if you worked there, you have
to submit what you wrote to the Department of Energy," says Acevedo. "It's
the first and only vampire book to have to get reviewed and declassified
by the federal government. Your anti-terrorism dollars at work."
says that the DOE didn't change any parts of the book, and he even includes
the official approval letter on the opening page. He also claims to
have no knowledge of classified information about Rocky Flats, such
as the plausibility of the premise of The Nymphos of Rocky Flats.
But as longtime Front Range denizens can attest, this fictional account
isn't any more outlandish than some of the actual goings-on at the controversial
nuclear weapons facility. And this one is a lot more fun.
Last Word in It Is "Sex"
And Other Reasons to Love This Hardboiled-Detective-Meets-Vampire Novel
DAVIDA MARION, The Seattle Stranger
a week ago, I had given up on novels. A horrible thing to happen to
anyone who loves books, but the last five novels I had picked up, on
recommendations, or because I'd read reviews of them, or just because
the cover art was pretty, I put down again before I was halfway through.
Everything was Extremely Literary (overwritten, dull) or ChickLit (insipid,
then I cleaned up my room and found, in one of my piles of stuff, The
Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo—and now I am firmly
back in the novel's cheering section, perhaps even waving silly pompoms
and doing kicks in a very short skirt.
backstory, which explains why it was in my room in the first place:
A while back, I worked as an intern at The Stranger, where I was the
first person to sift through the bins of books that get sent from publishers
for possible review. And on the bottom of one of those bins, I found The Nymphos of Rocky Flats. The name made me giggle, so I stuffed
the book into my bag, stealing it away with me. Then, I apparently just
threw it on the floor and let other shit pile up, forgetting about it
until last week.
Nymphos begins with the assertion “I don't like what Operation Iraqi Freedom
has done to me. I went to the war a soldier. I came back a vampire.”
The narrator, Felix Gomez, is a guilt-wracked soldier who was turned
into a vampire after he and his fellow soldiers accidentally gunned
down a village of civilians. You could look at Gomez's condition as
a metaphor (especially because Nymphos was, eerily and coincidentally,
released right when Time magazine broke the news of the real-life civilian
massacre in Haditha—I can only hope that the soldiers responsible
for that tragedy feel as guilty and wretched as Felix) but ultimately,
Acevedo doesn't seem to have any meta-purpose behind Felix's fangs.
Felix is discharged from the army, he becomes a private
investigator (!) because as a vampire, with his powers of night vision,
sixth sense, and levitation—what, you didn't know vampires can
levitate—he is obviously very well-qualified to rid the world
of violent criminals. Because of his abilities, he gets a call from
an old college buddy to investigate an outbreak of nymphomania (!!)
at the Rocky Flats Closure Project, a former nuclear-weapons plant.
This investigation drives the rest of the story.
writing isn't skillful, at least not in any literary sense; his sentences
are short and stiff, his metaphors flat-out suck, and he actually uses
the words "meat missile" to describe a penis. (Full sentence:
“My orange aura sizzled with jealousy at the image of Wendy gleefully
impaling herself on that meat missile.” HOT!) Some of the major
plot twists aren't logical. And the title guarantees
that I would never, ever read it on the bus. But despite these flaws,
I love this book so much that it has restored my faith in novels and
I would whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone. As a whole, Nymphos is just so readable and engaging that I never felt annoyed at its lacking
language. The fact is, Nymphos is the most imaginative story
I've read in months. It's trashy and silly and so much fun. Like any
whodunit, there are car chases and gunfights, sex (duh) and redemption;
but it also has vampire hunters, a hot dryad, and lots and lots of animal
blood. Nymphos never loses its pulpy exuberance; it's clear
that Acevedo's not taking himself seriously, which is why the breakdown
of genre boundaries works.
few weeks ago, I was helping a high schooler at 826 Seattle with a novel
he had written. At 826 Seattle, kids can get help with their homework
or writing; it's free, volunteer-run, and just generally a fun place
to hang out. I gently suggested that, even though he really wanted to
include aliens in his story, introducing them in the last chapter was
maybe a little jarring to the reader. And I truly believed that—until
I got to the penultimate chapter of Nymphos where, to my surprise,
Acevedo throws aliens into the mix and it... works. So Andrew, I'd like
to offer you an apology; sometimes, alien closers are incredibly effective.