The Toronto Vampire Chronicles, Book 1
By John Matsui
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror, Action Thriller
About the Book:
Police capture Dragul Mangorian in Toronto’s sewers on a series of blood-sucking assaults. Media worldwide and local citizens and politicians buzz with news the perp is ‘a real vampire.’
Mangorian’s blazing yellow eyes, cadaverous 6’-6” frame, three-inch fangs, taste for human blood and near takedown of a heavily-armed SWAT team persuades the usual public defenders to contract the flu. It falls to down-on-his-luck lawyer Al Hamblyn not just to defend this fearsome creature on the charges but to ensure he beats down a crack prosecution team’s efforts to deny Mangorian his legal rights on the basis that he’s not quite human.
Hamblyn learns Mangorian is the sole-surviving member of the Homo Sanguinus, a sub-species of Homo Sapiens that through evolution evolved to feed on human blood.
The lawyer seizes the opportunity to revive a disastrous career and win back his former wife and family. First, however, he must overcome his fears in mounting a defence for a client who appears to have stepped out of a nightmare.
Late Bite has been described as “A Path Breaking Novel” that’s “Fast and Fun” and gives an entirely “Fresh Take On Vampires.” The main character Dragul Mangorian is a non-sparkly blood sucker who both charms readers and keeps them guessing until the final page.
Lawyer Al Hamblyn listens to radio reports en route to meet his new client. Excerpt begins:
“You’re hearing this first on Rock 1060. Confidential sources in Toronto’s police department confirm the suspect in the stalker attacks is a vampire. And we can confirm victims had blood sucked out of them.”
I switch stations.
“Police are rumoured to have the suspect in a special cell that has no bars so he can’t change into a bat and escape.”
“We have breaking news from our reporter Melissa Doig at 52 Division,” says Dee-Jay Brad G.
“Thanks Brad. Detective Buddy Ferino just held a news conference. He’s identified the suspect as Dragul Mangorian, age unknown, address unknown.”
“Did Det. Ferino confirm the suspect, this Magurry, is a vampire?”
“Not quite, but the next best thing, Det. Ferino will not deny that he is a vampire. Listen for yourself.”
“Is it true that he’s a vampire?” Doig asks.
“I have no comment.”
“So you are not denying he is a vampire,” she persists.
“I have no comment.”
“So,” says Doig, “There you have it, no denial.”
“Hey folks, you heard it here first on AM 960, Detective Buddy Ferino is not denying they have arrested a vampire.”
I switch stations to the usually calmer CBC. The publicly funded broadcaster doesn’t rely on hype and ratings.
“Reporter Janice Chakrabarti’s on the scene for a sensational development in the Toronto Stalker investigation. Janice?”
“Hi Peter, I’m here at Police Division 52 where the lead investigator into the Stalker Attacks is concluding a news conference.”
“We’re hearing some wild reports about vampires, giants, you name it.”
“I think you should make that decision for yourself. The voice you’re about to hear is Det. Ferino.”
“At approximately 9:10 p.m., police received a report of an incident. Officers found a 32-year-old female had been physically assaulted. Canine units were dispatched and they tracked a suspect to a storm sewer outlet in the Don River Valley. It appears the suspect had been living in the sewers.
“A suspect was found and arrested after a three-hour search. The suspect resisted arrest. Two officers were injured and are reported in good condition in Hospital. The suspect is being held and will face numerous charges in court this morning.”
A dozen voices shout out questions.
“Det. Ferino, is this case linked with the other stalker cases?”
“Yes, we believe all of the stalker crimes are linked.”
“Can you elaborate?”
“The method of attack is the same.”
“And that method is?”
“The victim last night, and eight previous victims, all had two puncture wounds on the neck and all were missing a quantity of blood.”
I flip the station.
“… Like Dracula. We have an unconfirmed report the suspect changed into a giant bat.”
A hulking, 40ish cop with three chevrons on his sleeve greets me at the front desk of 52 Division. His nametag identifies him as ‘P. Crampton.’
“You Hamburger?” the sergeant says, revealing a set of huge teeth.
“Hamblyn,” I correct.
“If you’re that vampire Mangorian’s lawyer, you’re Hamburger,” he says, unveiling his choppers in a smile that stretches from one cauliflower ear to the other.
Half-muffled guffaws erupt from cubicles behind the front desk. It does nothing to ease my feeling of foreboding.
“May I see my client, sergeant?”
“Sure, but you may wanna see Detective Ferino first.
I nod okay and he waves at a guy in a hat.
A tall, wiry guy with a long, thin nose and horn-rimmed glasses approaches. He’s about 30 but is dressed in a trenchcoat and fedora like he walked out of a 1950s pulp crime novel.
“So, you’re the lawyer assigned to represent Dragul Mangorian. Detective Buddy Ferino,” he says offering me his hand to shake.
He gives my hand two quick pumps. “I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of each other.”
“Uhh, Al Hamblyn. Nice to meet you.”
“I asked the sergeant to direct you to me,” he says, drawing conspiratorially close.
Almost whispering in my ear, he says, “I shouldn’t be saying this to a suspect’s lawyer but I got to tell you ... Be careful. I don’t know if he’s a vampire or what he is, but he’s not normal.
“We Tasered him. Flat on his back, he still took out two of our guys.”
I feel my blood run cold.
“He sucked blood from two officers?”
“No, he threw them against a wall. They’re banged up but they’ll live.”
“Oh good,” I say with relief for me, not the injured cops.
About the Author
John Matsui is a former daily newspaper writer, turned public relations guy, turned business consultant, turned Internet entrepreneur, and finally author of thriller mashups that stick to a single genre like confetti in a hurricane.
His storylines and characters, like his work life, rush everywhere at once and still arrive at the finish line with all plot threads neatly and satisfyingly knotted or so readers have told us. Unless you have a habit of reading the last pages of a book first, you clearly enjoy this form of topsy-turvy, jigsaw mystery. That or you decided to see how far from the beaten path John could go.
People who [enjoyed] [hated] [laughed] [cried] [got sick over] [have no idea what to think about] John’s writing are invited to visit https://johnmatsui.com/ or email the author at: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him they [loved] [despised] [shared] [ripped apart] [borrowed a copy of] [bought a copy of] his books and that they plan to [buy his other books] [recommend him] [start a bonfire with it] [spread it as fake news].
John’s other novels, Lycanthrope Rising: The True Story Behind The Vampire-Werewolf Wars — The Toronto Vampire Chronicles, Book 2 and Gravity Games, A Nathan Sherlock Foodie Thriller, are available as eBooks through most popular online vendors. The paperback version can be ordered on Amazon.com or clicking the link on John's Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/John-Matsui/e/B00L8GIQ2E
John and wife Judy live in Wortley Village, a quaint neighbourhood in London, Ontario, far from Toronto’s clash of vampires, werewolves, superheroes and high housing prices.