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.
What ultimately emerges is a thoughtful and finely-crafted work that reads as particularly insightful pop history ... The book is put together like a piece of smart-yet-accessible nonfiction, capturing perfectly that piecemeal approach of meticulous research that goes into blending disparate elements. The first-person accounts are most compelling—they’re the ones with the most leeway to advance the narrative while also giving Villareal room to stretch—but they benefit greatly from the sprinkling of additional material. The interview transcripts are great, but it’s the excerpts from magazines, newspapers and the like that really fill the gaps and contextualize everything. It’s all tied together beautifully ... entertaining as hell.
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.