Demon Under Glass - D L Warner
Movie, book, website and sequel. Perhaps if you put them all in a blender youíd get a full, satisfying story, but I donít think the book stands alone. Developed from the screenplay of the movie, itís not a bad read. Indeed, in parts, things went undoneÖ you know the kind of thingsÖ dinners burntÖ ironing not doneÖ. All I wanted to do was read, and woe betides anyone who interrupted.† The trouble was, there was nothing to read toÖ the promised story, the one I desperately wanted to see develop, didnít. This just wasnít a gay book, despite having all the promise.
Joe McKay is a doctor who knows something odd goes on up on the 6th floor of the hospital. One night he gets called up to treat an unusual patientóand thus begins his relationship with Simon Molinar, a vampire. The people who have Simon want to find out his secret: what gives him his long life and his enhanced abilities. This is the age of science, and thereís no suggestion that Simon hosts a demon. Far from it, being a vampire is seen more as a condition, perhaps a virus that only certain people can catch. To further their knowledge, they experiment on him. The experiments are vicious and cruel, and a split begins to develop in Joeís loyalty to the project. As he distances himself from what is being done in the name of science, he unwittingly becomes closer to Simon.
Itís clear that Joe feels a strange closeness to Simon, but itís never described as sexual. Simon seems fascinated by Joe, but again, itís more an ancientís first contact with a doctor. Iím not convinced that these tiny hints possible in the written would come over at all in a film. The only kiss and the only sex are heterosexual.
The book is riddled with errors. The screenplay must have been in the present tense and the book converted to past tense. Very badly.† Sentences switch between past and present. There are so many typos you almost stop noticing them. Almost. It seems such a shame that such a huge project (as I said, movie, book, website and sequel) didnít have more effort put into proofing. People proof books for fun! I should know, Iíve got two of the best betas in the business, and I bet theyíd love to have a stab at this one.
If this review is a bit muddled, then I think itís because my reaction to the book is muddled. Parts made me want to shut myself away and just read, but the sense of being let down at the end has spoilt some of that pleasure. I do want to see the movie, but the trailer doesnít convince me that Iím going to get the sense of satisfaction missing from the book.
Basically, this was a huge opportunity to have a wonderful gay novel, but it wasnít brave enough to actually go there. I get the impression that the sequel, which the author of the novel/screenplay describes as fanfiction, does. Like lots of fanfic, it takes a hint of gay and makes it real. I hope so; Iíve just ordered it and Iíll be pretty annoyed to be let down again.
A homemaker vampire who haunts Walmart?† Thatís Simon Molinar.† He also likes to watch the Three Stooges in his underwear (boxers).† He says itís tiresome to be poetic and brooding all the time, an object of romantic fantasy.† Very droll.
Simon kills to survive, a messy business involving blood and broken bones for Simon likes to play with his food, with no remorse or angsty soul-searching.† He also likes his comforts- large showerheads, big TVs, fine linens- and tight security- deadbolts, a cosy box chamber to sleep in.†
Simon is also Vlad, a vicious serial killer who targets prostitutes.† One night heís cornered in a honeytrap by an undercover lady cop and taken badly injured to a military hospital where the Delphi project has everything in place for in-depth study of the creature now at its mercy.† The US government hopes to use the captured vampire to help breed a super soldier.
†A slight hitch in the plan leads to the death of the doctor leading the project.† Drafted in at the last minute to replace him is young Doctor Joe Mackay, a guy who doesnít take any vacation time because heís got nowhere he wants to go or anyone to go there with.† But heís a good doctor, caring and considerate, always willing to go the extra mile for a patient.† Heís only working at the military hospital because it pays more and heís got those loans.† When his new patient arrives in a big metal box carried by large men wearing white crosses Joe thinks heís in the X-Files.† When told the truth, Joe sees not a mythical creature of evil but a helpless man in distress and needing medical attention if heís to survive. †
Joe tends Simonís wounds and treats him as he would any patient, despite what he is.† Simon responds in kind, charming, polite and good company. †They build up a relationship based on trust thatís put to the test when the exact nature of the Delphi project is exposed.† Increasingly brutal procedures cause Simon great pain, until Joe realises the real evil heís dealing with isnít the undead creature whoís become his friend (and maybe something more) but unscrupulous government agencies who want to use Simon and donít care what happens to him.†
It all sounds promising, and thatís why I bought the book, a novelisation of a film of the same name.† However itís disappointing.† The book is littered with annoying typos and reads exactly like a scene-by-scene account of a movie.† Youíd expect a book to flesh out characters and give a bit of depth but the writing is pedestrian, no better than mid quality fanfic at best.
†Among many weaknesses, the relationship between Simon & Joe fails to deliver despite an intriguing set-up that had me excited.† Simon is seductive and attractive, and Joe, charmingly innocent, plays right into his hands.† Simon leads Joe to the brink but heís prepared to wait rather than force the issue of whatís between them.† Which is fine, heís got eternity to play with, but itís frustrating for those more interested in the relationship dynamics of a liaison between a 1,000 year-old lothario and a young man whoís never before been interested in another man.† Just when things begin to get interesting, with Simon & Joe nesting together on the run from Delphi and the FBI, it stopped (148 pages) leaving me let down and with a bunch of unanswered questions. †Iíd like to see the film, to compare.†
This story hints at something more what Iím looking for, taking Simon & Joeís relationship up a notch or two.† For Joe carries a virus that predisposes him to vampirism under the right circumstances.† And heís becoming more relaxed around his amorous but patient companion.† A good fanfic writer could really do something with this story.† Pity they didnít get one to write this book!† As it is, the novel appears half-finished, as though the writer was scared by the homoerotic implications of the relationship between Simon & Joe.† Pity as it had potential.