Tanya Huff’s supernatural fantasy Smoke series, with a gothic twist • Mix of ghostly mystery, paranormal horror, and dark humor • Lamba Award nominated
Fans of the X-Files and Twin Peaks will love acclaimed master of contemporary fantasy Tanya Huff’s twisted version of vampires, wizards, and TV terror.
When Tony Foster relocated to Vancouver with his vampire Henry Fitzroy, he knew it was his chance to get his act together. In an example of art echoing life, Tony landed a job as production assistant for the syndicated TV show Darkest Night, a series about a vampire detective. And except for his unrequited crush on the show’s handsome costar, Lee Nicholas, Tony was pretty content.
Until everything started to fall apart on the set.
It began with shadows—shadows where they didn’t belong, that almost had an existence of their own. Tony tried to ignore it—until he found Nikki Waugh’s body, and felt the shadow’s touch, and a stunt crash went wrong for no discernible reason—and Tony knew that he had to find out what was threatening everyone on the set.
Lights, camera and action take a backseat to slippery shadows, snappy dialogue and an overwrought hybrid fantasy/SF plot in Canadian author Huff's alternately clever and annoying blend of farce, mystery and magic, the first in a trilogy. In this spinoff from the author's five-volume series (Blood Price, etc.) featuring vampire Henry Fitzroy, Fitzroy's streetwise ex-lover, Tony Foster, has moved with Fitzroy to Vancouver to study film. Now the set production assistant on CB Production's Darkest Night (think Angel), Foster pines for one of the hunky (alas, heterosexual) co-stars and dreams of being a director. When an actress is murdered under very "shadowy" circumstances, it turns out to have been done by a minion of a Shadowlord who slipped through a "gate" near the show's soundstage originally opened by Arra Pelindrake, a special effects wizard who also happens to be, well, a different sort of wizard on another world. Foster, Pelindrake and Fitzroy join forces to kill other minions sent to take over Earth and destroy Pelindrake, the Shadowlord's archenemy. The proceedings are enlivened with campy comments ("a world where Joss Whedon got canceled was exactly the kind of world where the Shadowlord could win"), but it's not enough to save an overextended plot light on substance and heavy with fang-in-cheek fun.