A Love Like Blood by Marcus Sedgwick © 2014 Pegasus
Serving in Paris near the end of World War II, medical officer and hematologist, Charles Jackson sees a vampire feeding in an abandoned Nazi bunker. Too frightened and/or unsure of what he saw to intervene, Jackson walks away to be haunted by thoughts of the maybe-victim he never helped and by the face of the vampire.
Five years later, Jackson returns to Paris and sees the vampire again, this time conversing with a woman Jackson fears will become the next victim. So, Jackson befriends the woman, Marian, soon falling in love with her, but still hesitates to tell her about the other fellow being a vampire until it’s too late and Marian has disappeared, later reported dead.
So, Jackson determines to track down the vampire and avenge Marian. He finds the man again in Avignon, where the man now heads a blood-loving cult. Jackson’s rather vague vengeance plan is exposed, however, and he is nearly killed by the blood cult.
So it goes throughout Blood—over several decades Jackson and the vampire (he’s not a supernatural vampire, just a mean, literally bloodthirsty, rich dude) try to destroy each other in increasingly ruthless ways. By the time Jackson succeeds he has become as wretched as his enemy.
The book worked okay as an hematic-themed morality play about destroying oneself by hating another, but Jackson was an irritating character who didn’t change enough. He was selfish for chickening out in the bunker and for pining after Marian, who never loved him, and then not having the guts to save her while he could. He was never heroic or inspiring enough to make me care that he fell into depravity.
I learned my lesson well enough not to say I hated Blood, but it was barely average, and vampire stories have to rate better than that to remain on my bookshelf.