Title: Fool’s Errand (Fool’s Odyssey #1)
Author: Chris Quinton
Publisher: Manifold Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M futuristic paranormal romance
Length: 158 pdf pages
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
An interesting paranormal with a futuristic twist and flawed heroes.
First in the Fool’s Odyssey Trilogy – Xavi is a sometime hooker, sometime gigolo, working the rich pickings of wealthy tourists and bored socialites of Barcelona in 2042. His current meal ticket is Sophia Matas, the wife of a prominent politician. Then Sophia is assassinated and he’s the only witness. Within hours, Xavi finds himself in protective custody and in a safe house. His guardian is Andreas, a vampire liaising with the Barcelona police.
Andreas needs to exert control – of himself, his abilities, and his relationships. Now he must keep Xavi safe. If he can keep Xavi in one place long enough. They embark on an affair that will define who and what they are, played out in an deadly dance of kill-or-be-killed danger.
Now here’s an interesting idea, set in Spain in the not too distant future when vampires have made themselves known, this novella takes several different themes and interweaves them with a mystery and romance plot. My only complaint being that I wanted more – but more about that later.
Andreas is a vampire who works as a liaison between the vampire commune and Barcelona. He’s also worked for many years with the FBI and NSA in the USA, but found the pervasive fear in that country to be too unsettling. He is teamed up with a Spanish detective, Aquilar, and his first case is to investigate the murder of the wife of a prominent politician, as well as discover the possible mole in the police department. In the course of the investigation Andreas is called upon to protect a witness to the murder, Xavi, who is a high class prostitute. There’s a strong attraction between the pair, but Xavi’s bad experiences with men is a blockage to Andreas’ increasingly strong feelings of protectiveness.
The book basically follows two plots: that of the investigation and that of the relationship between Andreas and Xavi. Mixed in with these plots is the worldbuilding, which is given to us in bits and pieces as the story progresses. I was in two minds about how this was done. On one hand I appreciated the fact that there wasn’t any info-dump at the beginning, rather an intelligent dispersal of information, but on the other hand the way that the reader is only given bits and pieces is a little frustrating. There was so much more I wanted to know! Given that this is the first part of a trilogy, I’m hoping that I find out more about the fascinating way the world works in this futuristic story, and the different powers of the vampires, in later books.
The mystery plot is very action based, meaning that rather than a slow piecing together of clues, the bad guys basically fall into the laps of the detectives through a series of chases, show downs and set pieces. This was rather entertaining to read, but those of you who look for more serious detective work in their mysteries may find this aspect a little too unrealistic or even low-brow. I didn’t mind it myself because really the main gist of the story is centred around the romantic pairing of Xavi and Andreas.
Like the worldbuilding, I was in two minds about the romance plot. I liked both heroes, especially Xavi, who hovers the line between good guy and criminal. He’s a flawed character which made him perhaps the most interesting of the pair. Andreas isn’t bland by any means but I didn’t feel I knew him as well as Xavi by the end. We learn about how and why he became a vampire and that he very quickly develops possessive feelings for Xavi, but that is all. Hopefully as the trilogy progresses I shall learn more about what makes him tick because he’s still very enigmatic by the end. One niggle I had with the relationship was that it all happens rather quickly – in fact a bit too quickly for the sort of commitment they make at the end of the novella. I know that they spend a couple of intense days in each other’s company, but I think I would have liked more on page time between the heroes before I could wholly believe their commitment. The D/s part of the relationship is important but also low key and led to sensuous sex scenes which I found very appealing.
So, overall I greatly enjoyed this story. The heroes are engaging and there are lots of great ideas which combine to create a vivid world in the future. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy and seeing where the author takes these characters.