August 30, 2004 12:00 PM

By David Sosnowski

In the post-Buffy era, even vampires must be ironic, and Martin Kowalski—the undead hero of Sosnowski’s second novel—is no exception. “Garlic? Crosses? How was I supposed to avoid those things, in Europe, of all places,” says Kowalski, recalling his early vamping days in World War II-era France. A half century later, he has become dispirited—and then he meets a 6-ear-old mortal girl whose mother has been done in by Kowalski’s kind. This dark comedy of domestic manners chronicles the girl’s childhood and teen years, punctured by the occasional splatter scene. Interlaced with cultural commentary, Vamped successfully sends up religion and bureaucracies (Marty works for the Bureau of Blood Quality, or “BBQ”). While the plot may not feel like a full meal, Sosnowski’s use of quirky vampire details—who knew they love to play laser tag?—provides snacks aplenty.

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