July Books 14) Kiss of the Butterfly, by James Lyon
His impression of Belgrade was one of dirty decay. He choked on the coal smoke, leaded automobile exhaust, cigarettes and diesel fumes, yet admired the awkward mix of graceful neglected old buildings and concrete communist kitsch. Street-corner black market currency dealers buzzed about like swarming bees as they chanted endlessly the Serbian word for hard currency, ‘devize, devize, devize.’ He was almost run over several times by new black Audis, BMWs and Mercedes with tinted windows, whose drivers braked for no one and rarely observed traffic lights, while the police stood by. And no one smiled.
Here it is at last: the Balkan vampire novel by my former colleague James Lyon, in which he unites a vivid impression of living in Belgrade as an American expat during the opening months of the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s with some well developed vampire mythology, drawn from the lore of the region rather than from the twentieth century's elaborations of Bram Stoker. The plot has sinister forces within the Serbian regime attempting to exploit an occult investment laid down centuries before by the Austro-Hungarian empire, with the central character a young American researcher trying to make sense of it all (and also to work through his feelings for two different Serbian girls). It's all very smartly done, and entertaining, and clearly leaves enough unresolved threads for a sequel or two.