Title: Dead Camp (Dead Camp Series 1)
Author: Sean Kerr
Publisher: EXtasy Books
Release Date: January 1, 2016
Genre(s): Paranormal/Historical Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 260
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Eli is an ancient vampire with an ego the size of a planet and a sex drive to match, but his tumultuous past left him broken, so he hides from humanity and cowers from love, left to endure the crushing guilt that haunts his every waking moment. Even his best friend, Malachi, a ghost who is hopelessly in love with Eli, remains unaware of all that transpired in London. Malachi can never know the truth.
When the Angel Daniyyel pays an unwelcome visit, Eli must face his secrets, secrets that he has tried so long to hide. To make matters worse, a chance encounter with the most beautiful man he has ever seen shatters his beloved isolation, pushing him into the world of the living once more. Something about this strange man seems so familiar, but Eli can’t even remember who he was before he became a vampire, never mind explain the unwanted emotions the enigmatic stranger ignites in his dead heart. So Eli has a choice – return to the world that ruined him, or continue his self-imposed exile with no hope of salvation.
Premise of the book is Eli is an incredibly old vampire, with origins unknown and uncommon powers and abilities. Malachi is a gay ghost who rescued Eli from the banks of a river and loves Eli unconditionally despite Eli not returning the affections. Daniyyel is an angel of God. Gideon is Eli’s past lover, a vampire of similar strengths and abilities. Ethan, a Jew saved from the Nazi’s by Eli for reasons unknown to either, only that Eli knew he must. The setting – roughly 1940’s Germany.
This is a delightfully different read from your standard vampire books (both gay and het), or perhaps more accurately, an erotic historical paranormal fantasy.
Eli, our conflicted, narcissistic vampire, has retreated to Alte, his singular castle/home in the hills of Germany. Through Eli, we learn of Gideon’s departure, Eli’s opium addiction, how he saved Britain and Queen Victoria, and that Eli loves Eli.
What remains a bit of an enigma, is Eli’s association with Daniyyel. They have a past, but we, the reader, are not yet introduced to this history. We also have Malachi’s transition to a ghost: “something” happened, nobody wants to fess up to what it was. And now, now there is the beautiful Ethan, and everything will pivot around this seemingly familiar and gorgeous man.
I truly enjoyed Eli and his constant comments along the lines of “I looked good draped across my table”. Malachi nicely complimented the quirky and narcissistic vampire as a drama-queen ghost. Bringing in the stern and thunderous right hand of God in Daniyyl balanced out what could have been quirk overload.
The overall plot moves right along – it’s engaging, it had me pulling up Google a couple of times (like I didn’t know Wizard of Oz came out in 1939), and combined with the our characters flaws, was really interesting.
Where this story bogged down for me, was where Eli, Mal, Daniyyl and Ethan started reading Ethan’s father’s diaries. It went from quirky, erotic, narcissistic vampire with emotional issues to an explanation of Adolf Hitler as paranormal entity combined with Ethan’s family background. It was like one massive info dump that had my eyes glazing over and my interest plummeting.
And just when the story gets rolling again, I realized with some small dismay, is this ends on a cliffhanger.
So I’m on the fence (and from the reviews on Goodreads I’m in the minority), about whether I wish to get the next in the series. I did enjoy the characters, but the info dump exposition left me feeling apathetic.
It’s up to you, dear reader, to now decide if this is worth a looksee.