AWW17: The Opposite of Life by Narrelle M. Harris

Silhouette of a woman with an umbrella black on a blue background with text Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017.Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017: Book #5

Title: The Opposite of Life

Authors: Narrelle M. Harris

Publisher and Year: Pulp Fiction Press, 2007

Genre: urban fantasy, crime, mystery, vampire fiction

A blue skinned woman with her hands about her shoulders faces front on with a serious express, the background is red rosesBlurb from Goodreads:

‘I remember screaming very loudly. In TV shows that’s where the ad break comes in, while some ninny is screaming her head off. No ad breaks in life, though.’

Lissa Wilson has seen more than enough death in her family, so when people start being savagely killed whenever she has a night out in Melbourne with her beautiful new boyfriend, she’s determined to investigate and to make the killing stop. Even when she realises the murders must be the work of a vampire.

Things had been looking up for this librarian and 21st century geekgirl, but the murders make her remember why she prefers books to people. People leave you. People can die.

She finds herself teaming up with the painfully awkward Gary to get to the undead heart of the matter. But there are more challenges in store than Gary’s appalling fashion sense. 

The idea of living forever can be a big temptation for someone who has lost so much….

“A well made plot with a killer (literally) ending.” Kerry Greenwood

My Review:

It took a while for me to settle into reading this – while I can slip into reading about US cities I’ve never been to easily, and I can buy into why they seem familiar, the familiarity of the Melbourne setting here threw me at first. That’s a good thing – it really *feels* like Melbourne and I just wasn’t expecting that.

I enjoyed the way in which Lissa and Gary came to hang out – although the whole  murder premise didn’t quite work for me in the setup, I could ignore that because I liked the working partnership and friendship between Lissa and Gary – and that’s really what makes this book. That and the fact that vampires are not nice exactly, but they’re not exactly flashy and dramatic either – they seem almost boring here, and I like that touch, having to pay bills, but not eat, and getting bored themselves a lot – but not the romantic melancholy bored that vampire fiction often writes, this is genuine ordinary being bored – and it’s hilarious.

This is a crime novel with a great friendship, it touches on horror (at least it was for me with the murders), and Harris brings something novel to the vampire fiction genre by making vampires a bit boring – in a good way, she takes the gloss off them, makes them less cool and it’s refreshing to read. This is also a great book if you’re missing Melbourne and want to be reminded of this gorgeous city.