Suckers by Z. Rider

Suckers by Z. Rider(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

“What we have here is a very high-quality junkie novel that happens to be about a unique case of vampirism.” —Evan Clark, author of Movers

WHEN WORN-OUT MUSICIAN DAN FERRY decides to take a shortcut back to the band’s hotel, he picks the wrong dark alley to go down. Within days of being attacked by a bat-like creature, he becomes consumed with the need to drink human blood. Terrified of what will happen if he doesn’t get his fix–and terrified of what he’ll do to get it–he turns to his best friend and bandmate, Ray Ford, for help. But what the two don’t know as they try to keep Dan’s situation quiet is that the parasite driving Dan’s addiction has the potential to wipe out humankind.

Poignant and terrifying, heartfelt and ingenious, Suckers is a story of sacrifice and friendship in the face of an alien contagion that threatens to destroy humanity.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

When I picked up this book I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the blurb.  Would it be a bunch of musicians caught in the middle of a vampire outbreak while on tour?  That’s what it seemed like until things got going.  I was really glad about that because it was a sign of the unpredictable plot that would be the hallmark of this book for me.

I’ve read a lot of vampire books and a lot of general outbreak books but I’ve never read anything like Suckers.  The bat-like creatures that are Z. Rider’s vampires are so unique, so interesting that in a way I wish we could have learned more about them.  However, going into the science of the vampires would have been very unrealistic considering that the main character Dan is just a musician, not a scientist.  He doesn’t know any scientists, he doesn’t have a desire to learn more about his vampire situation other than how to survive it so if Rider had gone in depth into the science it would have ruined the mysterious atmosphere surrounding the creatures.  In that way, the world-building is fantastic.  We’re given enough information to understand things and enough information about the world outside Dan’s little bubble that we know things are bad but it never devolves into an info-dump scenario.  Again, considering the main character’s background, this is far more realistic.

The plot as a result of the aforementioned unique world-building was quite unpredictable.  The world doesn’t immediately go all doomsday, post-apocalyptic everyone out for themselves sort of way.  No, it’s more of a slow decay as the suckers start to infect more and more people before they reach a point where hospitals and emergency services can’t handle the influx of new patients.  It’s not your typical doomsday scenario and as such is actually pretty unpredictable in terms of plot.  In retrospect many of the plot twists make sense because of how the characters were slowly changing throughout the story.  I can honestly say that I didn’t see the end coming but it makes sense when you consider the characters Dan and Ray.

Speaking of characters, I was really impressed with them.  Dan is the main character and is sort of the leader of the band but Ray is sort of the person who keeps it all together.  He takes care of Jamie when Jamie goes back on his drugs, takes care of Dan when his cravings for human blood become insatiable and stays true to himself throughout the novel.  Ray could have become cynical and bitter about having to take care of a lot of people but he never did and even in the face of death he stayed true to his principles.  Dan himself was of course a fascinating narrator as he slowly discovered (to his horror) that he craved blood but I have to say that Ray was definitely my favourite.  All of the characters, both major and minor were well developed so I really can’t complain there.

So here we have a very suspenseful horror story with an interesting new type of vampire, lots of plot twists and really believable characters that you’ll love by the end.  You really can’t ask for anything more and I’m definitely excited to see what Rider decides to do with her talent in the future.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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