The deceptively straightforward first third of the book, detailing childhood friends entering the corporate fray, lulled me into mild despondency. There were Kafkaesque satirical elements here and there, but I kept trying to figure out where in blazes this story was going. Surprisingly (and thankfully), the story decided to take a detour into full-blown supernatural realms, bringing to mind Thomas Ligotti's claustrophobic "corporate hell" tales and Stephen King's vampire-affiliated Sombra Corporation from the Dark Tower series. I won't give anything away, but suffice to say that those who make it past the sluggish first 100 pages will be rewarded with a gripping tale of blood-sucking professionals, unlimited supplies of caffeinated beverages, and maybe even a gaggle of wiccans.
I laughed a lot. I’m inclined to that with all vampire books- I mean, they can’t be real. But Montlack can make the macabre funny, frightening, possible, stupid, and yes, scary, all within a few sentences. Drip is a good book, whether one reads with a focus on pure comedy or as satirical horror/speculative fiction. The words are well put together. I’m glad this was written as a straight book, rather than an adult comic, as books are always better if one is free to paint one’s own pictures. Films have damaged so many good books. Montlack is very much out of the multi-media suite; being a jack of many trades doesn’t always work, but I’m pleased to report that this is a great entertainment.
There are some great characters. JD and George apart, I have to say, I was quite drawn to Cerri. If I fell through the proverbial rabbit hole into the plot, her relative sanity, and certain attractive qualities, would have made her my go to person. This book has loads of the old vampire stuff in a fashionable modern environment, mainly that of big business. Think bloodsucking bankers, except that they are not bankers, in what is on one level an often-seen story of business greed. On other levels, it’s one that quickly slips off the path of sanity.
Reading this had me in a sort of split hemisphere frame of mind, one side, left or right, up or down, whatever, was laughing at every other line; the other was all, “This is getting quite worrying, almost scary”. There are few original ideas, are there ever, but Montlack puts those he uses together in a very individual way. What’s to say?- Except, read it!
Now, how did I write all that without a gulp of coffee?
-I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Drip: A Gothic Bromance, by Andrew Montlack, is a gothic comedy about two young men who, by a series of unfortunate events, were led astray by money, power, and vampires.
J.D. and George were best friends who both wanted to climb the corporate ladder of BrewCorps, a coffee retail company they were both working for. J.D. gets the idea to use a pipeline to help make coffee production more efficient. However, when George relays this idea to the President of the company and becomes Vice President, the mens’ friendship begins to crack. But soon, J.D. takes notice George’s now nocturnal nature, alongside his co-worker’s paranoia. As he tries to unveil the mystery behind the company, J.D. realizes that he’s backed himself into a corner. With the pipe he built now being used shuttle human blood, for once in his life, J.D. finally realized...that he f*** up.
While J.D. was outgoing and confident, George was shy, and, in his own mind, a loser. It's no why he pushes J.D. like he does, trying to show the world that he can be just as useful. He does forget himself, from using his friend to become Vice President, to giving up his humanity to join the ranks of the elite, but I still felt sorry for him, because he was a pawn. J.D. was the reason why George managed to get where he was, but J.D. also had the power to take that away. It was heartbreaking, to see these two friends fighting one another.
This shows one of the prominent questions Montlack seemed to keep asking; just how much are you willing to throw away for the power? Although George the vampire was funny (dude, you levitated three feet off the ground), it stopped being humorous the moment I realized what the pipe was for. That pipe was used to allow vampires to syphon off blood from their unsuspecting customers, but even so, to think that George just went along with it, just to not get left behind, was disturbing enough. This illustrates the cutthroat atmosphere most companies have, with co-workers willing to backstab each other to be on top. That in and of itself is vampiric enough, and George beautifully illustrated that.
Overall, I would give this book a 3.6 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed the friendship between George and J.D. despite their contrasting characters. The question on morality was also a good addition to the book. Although much of the humor did fly over my head, other than that I liked the story, and would recommend it to those who enjoyed the movie Vampires Suck, and the young adult novel Eighth Grade Bites.
I started this book with a bit of hesitancy. No, that's not right. The start of this book made me hesitant; that is more accurate. There is a certain subset of predominantly male, bizarro/horror authors that write books with a certain pompous, presumptuous tone that drives me up the wall. They always feel as if the author is sneering at the reader, like, "You chump, you're reading MY work so piss off!" They're basically what happens when trolls write, whether they're good at it or not is irrelevant. It's about tone, not talent.
The first chapter or two of Drip, the way certain scenes and characters were described and explained, even if the reader should reasonably be expected to know, hinted that Montlack might be such an author. I groaned and wondered at the number of Pantera and Metallica shirts he might owns. (Yes, totally spurious.) But I'll happily report that Montlack pulled it together and an interesting and non-trollish book developed. I even liked it.
It does some interesting things with its plotting. The most notable is the unexpected hero. It's not who you expect, who experience tells you should rise above and save the day. There is a certain narrative reader can generally expect, we're fed it so often and unrelentingly. The meek will inherit the earth. The downtrodden will get their comeuppance. The arrogant youth, who has always gotten their own way, will one day face their own fallibility, while the person who followed the rules is shown to have walked the right path and will receive their rewards. That is not the story you receive here. One character has always had the best—he would say worked for the best—even if he had to step on others to get it, and the other has always been pathologically hesitant and unlucky, polite to a fault. Conventional plotting would balance those scales. Not Montlack.
This makes for a really interesting turn of events, a fun story. But I have to admit it's also uncomfortable. It feels inherently unfair. In fact, while I loved the epilogue, I never did reconcile myself to the end. One character really did get a bum deal.
But the genius of it is the way it leaves you to ponder if Mr. Charisma is a bad person or not. Certainly, by the end he's grown exponentially and can be said to be a good man. But what about previous to that? He'd spent his whole life being arrogant, self centered and rude. He has one tragedy that gives him a bit of depth, but is it enough? He did take care of his best friend. But does that count if it's only within his own limited view of desirability. How much of it is out of any sense of loyalty and how much is just because he benefits from it? You're never really sure and it keeps the character interesting.
Similarly, though you see much less of Mr. Beta's personality, you see how he fell into the circumstances he does. Some of the most enlightening passages of the book come out of his mouth.
I thought the corporate vampires were a fun touch, though they did become caricatures after a while. Perhaps it's the Gothic influence, but as I often do with vampire novels, I was left wondering why they only ever seem to hunt women. A few men got incidentally noshed on or died fighting, but every vampire victim to have a detailed death was a woman.
The writing itself is worth a read. Montlack knows how to turn a phrase and it's pretty well edited. So, the actual reading experience is a pleasant one.
All in all, I really enjoyed it. I think I, personally, would have preferred it moved farther into either the serious or comedic category. As it is, it straddles the two in a way I found less that ideal. It's humor kept me from taking it seriously and it's serious bits kept me from just letting go and laughing at it. But that's basically a personal preference sort of comment.
If it’s entertaining, funny, interesting and unique with a bit of vampiric horror you’re looking for... then “Drip: A Gothic Bromance” a debut novel by Andrew Montlack is the perfect fit. Thank you Andrew for gifting me an e-copy of this book. It in no way swayed my opinions and feelings about this read.
The idea of workplace vampires had the feel of “Bloodsucking Bastards”, a funny little horror/comedy movie. It also had a “True Blood” and “The Strain” feel, a couple vampire themed TV Series. The humor was very tongue in cheek and dry (deadpan if you will). The story was a fresh, unique and an interesting spin to the vampire story unlike any I’ve read before. The characters were well formulated and easy to relate to. The story moved along nicely with a quick cadence and a splash of wit. There are surprises in every workstation, boardroom and cup of coffee. And if you find that your cell phone is continually losing its signal even when y0u are surrounded by cell towers, you might want to look around and question the reason. You will question many things while enjoying this read...one thing you will not question is the fact that it is quite simply a very entertaining reading experience. I found myself laughing out loud and shaking my head in with amusement from start to finish. I very much recommend this read if horror/humor and vampires are a combination you enjoy. I sure did!
Synopsis (from back cover): "A hand wearing a fancy watch parted the office blinds, and J.D. felt nauseous with despair: suddenly he knew—even though he could not explain how—that all of his mojo had been permanently taken away."
J.D. and George: thick as thieves since the fourth grade. J.D., the troublemaker, the stud: the alpha. George, the sidekick, the misfit: the loser. Upon graduating college, J.D. has convinced the only job creator in rusty Middlestop to hire them. BrewCorp, the hot new coffee and retail chain, is offering a vice presidency to the employee with the boldest plan for growth, and J.D. is determined to be the guy. When not sleeping with co-workers, he hatches his pitch for a one-of-a kind data pipeline. He is unbeatable--until George grabs the promotion. Now J.D. wants answers. His quest to find them—and to deal with the monstrous truth—is the subject of indie filmmaker Andrew Montlack's wry debut novel, which features the same biting satire that made his mockumentary, The Devil's Filmmaker, a cult classic.