My friend and I exchange books for the holidays, giving each other strange stories that we ourselves got a kick out of. I’ve turned her on to Warren Ellis’ Crooked Little Vein and she got me Drew Hayes’ The Utterly Unintresting And Unadventurous Tales Of Fred The Vampire Accountant. With a title like that, you are either setting the bar really low or really high.
The book is more of a collection of short tales as narrated by Fred shortly after he was transformed from a quiet, nerdy accountant to a quiet, nerdy undead accountant. Fred is transformed with no mentor or guidance, and lapses right back into his normal life with a few adjustments for his new condition… like working nights. He doesn’t suddenly become charming, romantic, graceful or anything else you’d equate with a movie vampire. It’s a year into his afterlife before anything of interest happens at all. He goes to his high school reunion where he meets up with another former social outcast, Crystal, who now is very attractive but still seems a bit on the outside of the group. The reunion is on Halloween, so everyone is in costume, and of course there is the pack of former jocks who are no werewolves that plan on eating everyone there. Fred’s first instinct is to run. Becoming a vampire didn’t suddenly make him heroic. But as he tries to escape, he comes across Crystal again and we find out she’s an agent for a government group that deals with the supernatural. He frees her and then tries to escape only to get caught by the werewolves and saved by Crystal. She’s figured out he’s a vampire, so she does the only thing she can do… she asks him out.
Turns out that being a supernatural hunting government agent that can’t talk about her job to regular humans is bad on the dating life… but with a vampire, it could work.
Each of the other four stories in the book introduces us to another new friend for Fred all from the supernatural world. And in the final story we find out more about how Fred became a vampire and the big secret Crystal had been hiding. But for an uninteresting undead accountant, Fred helps take on Werewolves, a Necromancer, battle Casino owners in a joust, track down a missing mage and go up against his sire. He also makes friends with a zombie, a necromancer, a mage, a weresteed (more like a werepony), a werelion and a dragon. The universe around Fred grows very quickly and I know of at least two more books in the series so far.
This is my first time reading Hayes’ work. He has a nice, easy way of writing that is quite enjoyable, but the format that he presented this book is a little troublesome. It feels like each story was written stand alone and not with the idea of being a single tome. This leads to a lot of repetition of introducing characters, abilities and limitations. Fred points out on numerous occasions that he is not the movie version of a vampire and why, how he and Crystal met and why Bubba is sensitive about his size. I think it would’ve helped the series to have gone through and better tied the individual stories together when combining them into one series.
The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred the Vampire Accountant was interesting and fun and I’m glad I spent the time in the world created by Drew Hayes… but I could now walk away and feel fine about it. A good novel series leaves you wanting to grab the next story immediately as you turn the final page. I didn’t have that feeling here. I may pick up one of the other books somewhere down the line… or I may not. Not the feeling the author probably wanted me to have.