Jody never asked to become a vampire. But when she wakes up under an alley Dumpster with a badly burned arm, an aching back, superhuman strength, and a distinctly Nosferatuan thirst, she realizes the decision has been made for her.
Making the transition from the nine-to-five grind to an eternity of nocturnal prowlings is going to take some doing, however, and that's where C. Thomas Flood fits in. A would-be Kerouac from Incontinence, Indiana, Tommy (to his friends) is biding his time night-clerking and frozen-turkey bowling in a San Francisco Safeway. But all that changes when a beautiful undead redhead walks through the door...and proceeds to rock Tommy's life—and afterlife—in ways he never thought possible.
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Part love story, part vampire tale, and part murder mystery, Bloodsucking Fiends tells the story of an unlikely vampire, Jody, who, just discovering her various powers decides that she needs someone to carry on her various day-to-day, can’t-be-out-during-the-daylight tasks, and enlists C. Thomas Flood, more affectionately known as Tommy to help her out. Little do they know that the spark of love will hit them; so in addition to all of the joys and pratfalls of a new relationship, Jody must contend with the pratfalls of being the newly undead, and as if that weren’t enough, there’s another vampire on the loose who happens to be killing people left and right and arranging things so that Jody and Tommy look like the culprits. It is obviously not easy being a modern day vampire.
Questions for Discussion:
Everyone has been exposed to Vampire Lore, either through books, movies, or television. How does Jody’s transformation into a vampire differ from how you always thought a vampire was created? In what ways was it similar?
Jody and Tommy’s relationship moves at a rather alarming pace, and within a week of meeting each other, they are in love. Is love at first sight possible? Or in their case, at first bite? Why do they connect so instantly?
The book is filled with religious connotations, whether intentional or not – from the mention of “the pyramid” (The TransAmerica Tower), to the use of crosses to ward off vampires, to the Animals being referred to as “Crusaders”. How intentional do you think this was on the part of the author? What do these add to the story?
The book touches upon the idea of euthanasia – the practice of ending life of a terminally ill person in a painless or minimally painful way in order to limit suffering, in that Elijah Ben Sapir, the vampire who creates Jody only kills those who are about to die or whose lives are limited in some way. What are your feelings about “mercy killings”? Do vampires have an ethical standard?
Jody ends up killing Simon in the front of his truck when he threatens her when she refuses to turn him into a vampire. Jody blames the killing on Elijah, however, and never confesses it to Tommy by the end of the book. Why not admit to it when Elijah has been restrained?
Why are Jody and Tommy “set-up” as the culprits in the recent crimes? What would it mean if they were caught? Why did these crimes need to be pinned on anyone? Couldn’t the criminals cover the crimes in another way?
By the end of the novel, both detectives – Cavuto and Rivera begin to believe in the supernatural and that vampires could exist. To what extent do you believe in the supernatural, either vampires, ghosts, or just even in those who may or may not have psychic ability?
Tommy uses Anne Rice’s The Vampire Lestat as his “Owner’s Manual” for learning about Jody and her new powers, which of course is fictional. Discuss the author’s use of fiction within fiction in order to tell a story. Have any members of your group read The Vampire Lestat? How do the two books compare?
Though Jody finds herself immortal, she also maintains many of her normal human characteristics and failings, including vanity, fear, anger, and disgust. Discuss how even though she has become immortal, and can protect herself from many of the regular dangers of everyday life, she is still unable to disassociate herself with normal human emotion.
At the end of the book, the reader is left with the impression that Jody is about to turn Tommy into a vampire. If she does change him into a vampire, how do you imagine their story continues? How would it continue if she does not?
Tips to Enhance Your Bookclub
Would you be willing to trade your normal life – being able to go out in the daylight, not being immortal – in order to become a vampire? You’d be able to live forever, have super strength, speed, etc. among many other different gifts. Would it be worth it? Why? Why not?
To read more about vampires take a look at the following titles: The Society of S, By Susan Hubbard, Vamped by David Sosnowki, The Book of Renfeld, A Gospel of Dracula by Tim Lucas and Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, by Marta Costa
Once Jody becomes a vampire, she finds that she has many new and different abilities, including super strength, heightened senses, and super speed. Which do you think is her most needed new super ability?
Learn more about vampires: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampires
Christopher Moore is the bestselling author of You Suck, A Dirty Job, The Stupidest Angel, Fluke, Lamb, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, Bloodsucking Fiends, and Practical Demonkeeping. Visit the official Christopher Moore website at ChrisMoore.com.