Mario Acevedo












Kama Sutra
X rated
highly unusual and impressive...thrills, sex, violence, and laughs…
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Nymphos was voted Westword Best of 2007
Best New Book by a Colorado Author.



Booksense Notable Pick for April 2006


“The 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.”

—Sarah Weinman, Picks of the Week, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind

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“The 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 mystery.

A 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 Explorations

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“Warning: 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.”

Rick Riordan, Edgar Award-winning author of Mission Road

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“Deliciously 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.

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“Mario 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.

Modernizing 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!”


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“This 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.”

—Publishers Weekly (Mar.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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War, Sex and Chicano Vampires

“In 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.

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My 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 experience.

— Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune

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Of vamps and vampires
by Vince Darcangelo, Boulder Weekly

Nothing 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.

Felix Gomez learns quick that it's not easy being a vampire in Colorado.

Easily 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.

"At 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."

The 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.

Acevedo likens his book to another equally absurd film.

"I 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."

It's 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.

"It 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."

Following the Gulf War Acevedo worked at Rocky Flats. As a result, the government needed to review and approve The Nymphos of Rocky Flats prior to publishing.

"If 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."

Acevedo 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.

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The Last Word in It Is "Sex"
And Other Reasons to Love This Hardboiled-Detective-Meets-Vampire Novel

BY DAVIDA MARION, The Seattle Stranger

Until 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, dull).

But 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.

Some 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.

After 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.

Acevedo's 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.

A 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.

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