The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, by Mario Acevedo

Mario Acevedo is a fairly new Colorado author. I think it was the 2006 Pikes Peak Writers (PPW) conference where Editor Diana Gill said the opening lines of his book were so great that she had to read it and eventually make an offer to a first-time novelist:

“I don’t like what Operation Iraqi Freedom has done to me. I went to the war a soldier; I came back a Vampire.”

At the time, I was deep in my Urban Fantasy fad, so I was sure I’d be reading Mario’s book soon. But I didn’t get to it until early this year. After Mario held a workshop for PPW, I finally bought his first book and had him sign it. By this time, my enthusiasm had cooled for vampire stories, but I really liked Mario’s voice — it felt fresh. I liked the slightly humorous tone and his protagonist Felix, who isn’t too deathly serious (okay — that’s a pun that’d make my husband proud).

While Mario was signing his book, I asked him whether his publisher felt this series was Urban Fantasy or Horror. He replied, “Horror, of course.” When I asked why (because I’ve been collecting information on sub-genres inside speculative fiction), he said, “From what they tell me, Urban Fantasy has a romantic undertone.”

After reading this book, I’m thinking “Horror” was a marketing decision by the publisher, perhaps to attract more male readers. When comparing Mario Acevedo’s series with Jim Butcher’s Dresden series, Acevedo’s Felix gets waaaaay more romance (real romance, as well as sex) than Butcher’s Harry Dresden. Hmm. We already know that genre is about marketing, but it can be rigid (for instance, it’s hard to package space opera as anything else). Sub-genre appears to have a significant influence on packaging (book title, cover, copy, etc.) and may be more flexible.

Regardless, Nymphos was a fun read. If I get a chance, I’d like to continue reading more of the series, but I’ve got this time management problem to iron out…

Any opinions?

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