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Reviewed by Jackie Timmons for Readers' Favorite
John Matsui's Late Bite is part courtroom drama and part vampire thriller with plenty of humor and fascinating characters. Al Hamblyn is a pudgy, down on his luck lawyer when he gets called in to do the impossible: defend an accused vampire in court. His new client, Dragul Mangorian, is a terrifying sight. Standing at 6'6" with almost translucent skin, long fangs, razor sharp fingernails, and yellow eyes, Dragul has been charged with nine counts of attempted murder plus a handful of other charges. Each of the victims were found with puncture wounds on their neck and a couple of pints of blood missing. None of them remember the circumstances surrounding their attacks. Dragul doesn't deny taking the blood, but insists that each supposed victim had consented to the donation. It is up to Al to convince the jury. The trial is a worldwide sensation, and Al and Dragul become instant superstars. Life is great for a while until more bodies start showing up. And this time they're missing more than a few pints of blood; they are totally drained.
Late Bite is a completely new take on vampires. John Matsui created a new species in Homo Sanguinus with a fascinating history and a few changes from the vampires we know. I really enjoyed his take on this species and thought the character of Dragul was perfect in his terrifying appearance paired with a smooth talking personality. Al Hamblyn is the kind of character you have to root for. Like a sad puppy, he is so pathetic that you have to love him. I found myself surprised at every turn in this story. Hearing the testimonies of the supposed victims was a shock, especially the teenager, Jonathan Beers. When more bodies started turning up, Dragul's explanation provided a whole new twist on the story. The final pages provided one more unexpected shocker that I am still trying to decide how I feel about. I completely enjoyed Late Bite and highly recommend it to anyone, vampire enthusiasts or not.