Sweet Oblivion 3: Fluid by Jordan Castillo Price

Rating: 8.5/10 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 
Title: Sweet Oblivion 3: Fluid
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Genre: Paranormal (vampires)
URL: Changeling Press
Price: US $4.49
Other Information/warnings: Violence, explicit m/m, kink (exhibitionism)
Summary [from the publisher]:
It’s been a couple of decades since Wild Bill has been able to savor the bite of an ice-cold, freshly tapped keg. Twenty-odd years since the shivery pucker of a cheap, boxed wine has assaulted his palate. But that doesn’t mean Bill’s forgotten how to party.

Wild Bill and Michael have holed up in a week-to-week hotel in an iffy Milwaukee neighborhood, and even though it’s been a year or two, the fringe art happenings are just as edgy as Bill remembers.

There’s a girl covered in frosting in the middle of the hors d’ouvres table, and she’s begging them to dip. And the host of the party wants to lure them into the range of his mechanical eye. It’s all fun and games, until a tryst turns deadly.

My review: By pure chance I ended up with two stories to review about charismatic vampires at the same time, and it was interesting to compare the approach the respective authors take to the concept of immortal life. Price sees it as a burden, enlivened only by sex and violence. Wild Bill, who remains one of the most fascinating characters I’ve read in m/m, reveals more of his artistic knowledge and urges in this story, yet frustatingly, does nothing about it. He has the ability to live as he wants, get what money he needs by fair means or foul, and the time to develop his talents as he wishes – but he spends his days in doss houses and grotty vans with the increasingly creepy and single-minded Michael, fucking and trying to avoid being killed. In the other story, the vampire sees immortality as a gift, liberating him from the limitations of being human.

But both authors focus on the essential loneliness of the vampire life, and the importance of trust. In Fluid, Price shows how even a vampire devoted to not killing innocents, even one as wary as Bill, can still fall foul of hunters, and without someone like Michael to be backup, an existence so devoid of peace and security must surely be utterly intolerable.

Not a lot happens in Fluid – it’s more about Bill’s internal frustrations and unexplored choices, and about vampire senses, than anything else. There’s the obligatory hot and dirty, well-written sex, this time with an audience, and interaction with not entirely hostile humans and other vampires, as well as an entirely hostile hunter, which makes Michael wonder what exactly he’s trying to achieve by educating vamps and victims about ‘safe’ sex, vampire style. Again I’m left wondering where Price intends to take this erotically charged but unbalanced couple, and whether Wild Bill can ever learn to be more than just resigned to his fate.

And again, I’m left hungry for more, which shows Ms Price knows her business. Damn her 😉 Highly recommended, if you like the vampire genre.