Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Summer Reading List: Chasing the Sun

9781921997068
Chasing the Sun
Robin Baker
Pantera Press

With the recent infestation of vampires and werewolves in our fiction market, it's no surprise that Robin Baker's second novel Chasing the Sun never once uses the word 'Vampire' to describe its main character and his friends, the back cover excepted.  Vampires such as those featured all over the YA market have become synonymous with a kind of overly sexualized lifestyle of affluence, where gore hardly features; yet by nature, a vampire is a frightening creature of the night who feasts on human flesh.

Robin Baker's vampires are certainly not going to sparkle in the sunlight, that's for sure.

As a former funeral director, Baker is no stranger to death, and this book doesn't hold back.  From its early chapters, descriptions of 'bleedings' are written in great detail- this climaxes in the depiction of a scene in which a member of the Vampire Hunting group Rising Sun is tortured and disfigured which left this reader feeling truly creeped out- and while the obvious parallel between blood lust and sexual lust is drawn, I am pleased to see that the author has not chosen to make the one a metaphor for the other.  The tagline for the book reads "The best way to blend is is to stand out" and this appears to reflect Robin Baker's approach to writing his book as well.  His characters are quirky, and subvert the stereotypes that appear in the many genres which this book crosses.  Part noir detective story, part suburban gothic, part touching redemption story, part tragedy, Chasing the Sun  has something for everyone.

At times, the corny jokes of the plot line will make you want to roll your eyes- characters named Honda Civic and Krystal Meth spring to mind- and the gratuitous cocaine use seem to locate this novel in a place that seems suspended between suburban Australia and the mean streets of LA ala a Hollywood thriller.  Honda (and I swear the first time one of the characters addressed him as thus, I thought it was a mean joke because his surname was Civic) is fond of saying "Dude" and "Like" and he calls every female character "Baby", but as you really get into the rhythms of this book, you realise that his laid back attitude to speech and life are part of his charm.  In fact, it is the effort that Baker has put into the different characters of this book that prompted me to rate it four out of five darts of vampire killing poison.

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