If "hell is being locked in a room with your friends" then 15-year-old Nina Harrison has served more than her fair share of time in hell. Turned into a vampire in 1973, Nina's spent the last 35 years attending an AA-style support group in the basement of a Catholic church with a small population of Australian vampires. They are catty and backbiting, and in general, sick of their situation, and sick of each other.
In a reaction against the shiny, super-powered vamps that are all the rage today, Nina and her rag-tag crew are complete weaklings. Vampirism is transferred by biting, and vampires don't age, but they must deal with debilitating malaise. They have about as much energy and enthusiasm as an Epstein-Barr sufferer. They crave human blood, but subsist on guinea pigs and endure stomach problems (including frequent vomiting) as a result. They slip into a unbreakable coma during daylight hours, and are so sensitive to light, they must wear sunglasses at night to avoid being blinded by car headlights or bright street lamps. In short, they are completely pathetic.
Most of the vampires struggle financially as well, finding it difficult to support themselves when they can only work night shifts and lack valid I.D.s. Nina probably has the easiest time, as she still lives with her elderly mother, and earns a decent living as the author of The Bloodstone Chronicles about Zadia Bloodstone, a fantasy vampire who is as sexy and energetic as the real vampires are not. Most of the other vampires turn to internet work from home jobs, or arrange shady under the table deals.
When Casimir, their vampire sire, is staked, Nina volunteers to travel with fellow vampire Dave, and their group leader, Father Ramon to investigate a lead on the case. Hoping to negotiate with the slayer, they feel certain when the person responsible sees how truly fragile and helpless they are, he'll give up hunting them. They soon uncover a werewolf fight club, and rescue good-looking Reuben from the menacing death match organizer Barry McKinnon. While I appreciated Nina's sense of humor, and enjoyed the Australian slang used liberally throughout the book, the sheer glumness of the vampires' situation made me feel like staking them would be a mercy. The sequel, The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group isn't due out until 2011, but I can't say that it will be eagerly anticipated.
I borrowed this book from the public library.