In this fictional oral history, an FBI agent, a war veteran turned nurse, a campaign manager and other key players unravel how a population of vampires, or "Gloamings," rose from a virus run amok to become an elite social group people are dying to join.
His tale is a little disturbing, and that’s a good thing. It functions somewhat as an allegory: The vampires are the 1 percent and everyone else is, well, everyone else ... Villareal brilliantly and stealthily examines how Gloamings have abandoned being human. Amoral in ways that normals can’t comprehend, the Gloamings only act to advance their situation.
Villareal’s cheeky blend of political satire and gothic thriller is enhanced by his background as an attorney and his deft use of convincing details: the science behind the NOBI virus; the Gloamings’ legal defense in their efforts to be recognized under the ADA; minutes from congressional hearings; copious footnotes; and three brief appendixes ... Aside from its ironic allusion to Howard Zinn’s classic, A People’s History of the United States, Villareal’s novel is somewhat reminiscent of Christopher Farnsworth’s Nathaniel Cade series, though Farnsworth is a better prose stylist ... With its doggedly unglamorous investigators pitted against a cabal of narcissistic, wealth-obsessed bloodsuckers, this wild ride of a novel proves that each era gets the vampires it deserves.
I wish I could say otherwise, but it really isn’t all that good. It sounds like it should be good—it sounds like it could be World War Z but with vampires—but in reality, it’s an overambitious mess without anything like a narrative arc, and filled with characters who are at best shallow caricatures of real people and at worst are unmitigated cardboard cutouts around which the author hangs incidents that in other hands might actually feel like they mean something, but here are just one damn thing after another ... it’s hard to be properly scathing about something so deeply mediocre.