Buried in the Heartland is a town that no one enters or leaves. Graf McDonald somehow becomes its first visitor in more than five years…and he was only looking for a good party. Unfortunately, Penance, Ohio, is not that place. And after having been isolated for so long, they do not like strangers at all.
Jessa’s the only one to even remotely trust him, and she’s desperate for the kind of protection that only a vampire like Graf can provide. Supplies are low, the locals are ornery for a sacrifice and there’s a monster more powerful than Graf lurking in the woods. New men are hard to come by in this lonesome town, and this handsome stranger might be Jessa’s only hope for salvation.
Even if she has to die first…(from netgalley.com)
In American Vampire, Jennifer Armintrout boils down humanity to its worst and then adds a vampire. It's not saying much that the vampire is the best of the bunch, is it?
Penance is cut off from the real world, a la The Twilight Zone, and the people who live there are hunted by a monster. Graf starts out his accidental visit to Penance with plans to suck everybody dry. He doesn't think much of humans, it appears, but ends up having to ingratiate himself on Jessa lest he end up sleeping, or rather baking, in the trunk of his little sports car. Jessa wants no part of him; life in Penance is hard enough without having to stretch supplies that much more. The people of Penance have regressed back to the Salem witch trials; outsiders are not accepted and suspicions run high. There's not much reason in Penance and it's a very scary place, even without the monster.
I liked American Vampire but not quite as much as I had expected. The plot was interesting, certainly unlike anything else I've read lately even if it was a bit predictable, especially the ending. Graf comes off as a jerk more often than not but redeems himself by the end. Jessa is sad, desperate, and defeated enough to throw out all her self-respect but who wouldn't be under the circumstances? In the end, I felt that American Vampire lacked the same spark that I saw in The Turning, book one in Armintrout's Blood Ties series.
American Vampire is available on Feb. 22, 2011.