Jake Aurelian's Reviews > Adam & Olivia: A Vampire Short

Adam & Olivia by Martin Lastrapes
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Jul 19, 12


(Since I read Martin Lastrapes' two Vampire shorts--"Adam & Olivia" and "Jesus: The Mexican Vampire Hunter"--concurrently, I am discussing both in one review posted for each story.)

For a variety of reasons (and despite being an author of fiction), I read almost exclusively non-fiction; with that said, it takes a masterful writer of fiction to pique my interest in their work, and Martin Lastrapes' short fiction, "Adam & Olivia" and "Jesus: The Mexican Vampire Hunter," certainly accomplished that difficult task. I also knew that "Adam & Olivia" and "Jesus: The Mexican Vampire" are from a genre that I typically shy away from, yet I was amazed at how quickly these stories sucked me in (no pun intended); the superlative narrative, the intensity, the excitement, the fluidity of Lastrapes' words is addicting, and his descriptions and character details--the nuances of their lives--are refreshingly vivid, crisp, eloquent and entertaining.

I also enjoyed the pop culture references throughout both stories. An example: in "Adam & Olivia," we are presented with Olivia's love for both WWF wrestling and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the former being a subject near and dear to my heart, the latter being a program I know only generally. In circumstances like this, it's quite easy to alienate, bog down readers if they are uninterested in the references, but in this instance, Lastrapes interjects the nostalgic reflections into Olivia's past so smoothly, so casually, describing both--WWF and Buffy--with obvious love and affection, that they work perfectly much like a good allusion (which should be entertaining even if the reader doesn't get the inside joke).

The author's introduction indicates the two stories are chapters from a forthcoming novel which can be read individually, and this is very true; the "self contained" aspects of the shorts allow them to stand alone while simultaneously hinting at a larger tale. Personally, I'm quite fond of this technique: a short story (or chapter or in this case, both) that concludes in such a way wherein the narrative can either end or continue... Despite the "self contained" method in which they are currently presented, "Adam & Olivia" and "Jesus" are great companion pieces; they interlock when read back-to-back (regardless of which is read first), and with the established groundwork in these two shorts, I look forward to reading the novel in totality.

In closing (again, as someone particular about fiction), Lastrapes' work reminds me of the addictively haunting and dark prose of Tim O'Brien, a rare author who can turn a scene of intense sadness and/or horror into a peculiar scene of beauty; Lastrapes possesses this same ability and talent.
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