Supernatural thriller comedy novel, written by Eva Darrows in 2015.
Welcome to a world much like our own, except that there's no masquerade hiding the monsters from human eyes. Everyone knows that vampires, werewolves, and ghosts exist, and when the monsters misbehave (which isn't all that often -- most of them are fairly well integrated into the modern world), you can call a licensed and bonded monster hunter, who will bring the firepower and fighting skills to eliminate the marauding horrors from your basement, attic, or fog-shrouded moor. Of course, the monster hunter you hire may not be a dignified black-clad warrior battling the darkness in his soul. Your monster hunter may very well be a hard-luck trailer-trash redneck battling the remnants of last night's hangover.
Our lead character is Maggie Cunningham, a teenager who is learning the art of monster hunting from her mother, Janice. The problem for Maggie is that she’s advanced as far as she can as a monster-hunting apprentice because she’s a virgin, and the smell of virgin blood makes vampires in particular react like someone just combined a mosquito, a shark, and a porcupine into one creature — they often go into a mad, desperately dangerous feeding frenzy that makes them terribly difficult to kill. So to become a fully-bonded and licensed monster hunter instead of just an apprentice, Maggie has to have sex.
Unfortunately, though Maggie is a badass monster hunter and an expert in weapons and martial arts, she's never been the type to care about fitting in with kids her age, and her social skills suck. She tries visiting her first-ever high school party to try to snag an acceptable drunk boy, but when he fails to perform and passes out, Maggie isn't even sure whether that counted or not.
So Janice decides to test whether Maggie is still a virgin by driving her past a vampire nightclub to see if there's a reaction. And sure enough, one of the vamps goes all spikey-sharky-vamp crazy, and Janice is forced to kill her. Too bad the fledgling vamp had a wealthy and politically powerful sire -- both of the Cunninghams are in serious trouble now. Will Maggie and Janice manage to survive? Will Maggie ever make it across home plate? Will Maggie be able to show the world that she really is The Awesome?
The plot on this one is fine -- aside from the absolutely fantastic setup, you probably won't remember this one for its plotline. What's going to make you love this book is the characters, particularly Maggie and Janice, who are gloriously badass, gloriously white trash, and gloriously in each other’s faces almost constantly.
These three facets of their personalities are really important to both of them -- but they’re far from age-separated twins. While both Maggie and Janice embrace their white-trash, trailer-park lifestyle with nary a qualm -- living on the outskirts of polite society makes it easier to be a weapon-slinging badass -- their quasi-antagonistic relationship feels very true-to-life for a couple of strong-willed women, particularly with a close family relationship. Janice is always egging Maggie forward, partly to make her a better monster hunter, partly because she just enjoys pissing Maggie off. Maggie is mostly willing to take it, but she clearly dislikes being the junior partner.
And Janice’s occasional recklessness always seems to turn up when she thinks she’s let her daughter down -- of course, that just gives Maggie a reason to try harder to be a bigger badass than her mom -- to be the most Awesome she can be.
And can we take a moment to sing hymns of praise for the glorious cover of the book? Created by artist Pye Parr, it features a lurid neon green vampire skull with staring eyeballs, with the title rendered in equally lurid and equally neon pink lettering. Dig the glory over here. In addition to the fantastic cover, the edges of all the pages are colored black, so it looks for all the world like you're reading a chunk of obsidian coated with a goopy neon green skull.
It’s a fun book, sometimes raunchy, sometimes action-packed, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, but the characters and their relationships are definitely the strongest selling point.