Team of Darkness
Hard Shell Word Factory, 180 pp.
If you’re a regular convention attendee it’s hard not to know who Tony Ruggiero is. It turns out that in addition to being a master of self-promotion, Ruggiero is also a talented action-adventure writer. Team of Darkness is a Military/Horror novel about a group of vampires working with a US Navy Special Forces team. The plot is simple but effective—military discovers vampires, apprehends vampires, sends vampires to kill drug lords. And appropriately enough, the story is written like a black-op itself: it’s a quick in-and-out strike, precisely written, and doesn’t waste your time with unnecessary details. I was particularly impressed with the flashback scenes that established the vampire’s backgrounds. The transformation from young Serbian villagers to inexperienced WWI soldiers to reclusive vampires to cold-blooded killers is handled so well that I found myself wanting to know more about where these characters go after the book is finished. There is also a great sub-plot grudge match between the vampires and a Serbian farmer/vampire hunter that effectively gets to the heart of the character’s motivations. This is a must-read for military minds and horror hounds alike.