Publication Date: October 1, 2012
In They’re So Vein (A Grateful Undead Book) by Susan Stec, Susan, a 58-year-old woman, encounters an altercation between a woman and a child in a public restroom where she stops while out with her sister. In her enthusiasm to film the conflict to post on her YouTube page, she inadvertently finds herself the object of the strange child’s ire. Susan wakes up to find that she looks 30 years younger and, oh yes, she’s also a vampire. The women in her life are eager to jump on this fountain of youth but the vampire world is much more organized than they thought it would be and their behavior is attracting attention they could do without. Is a youthful body worth the danger they’ve found?
They’re so Vein is the first book in the Grateful Undead series.
They’re so Vein lost me when Susan was standing on a toilet in a stall trying to see over the wall divider so that she could record the argument in the next stall and that was pretty close to the first paragraph in the novel. Her glee at hearing the vicious clash and the possibility of the video going viral is just tasteless. Here’s the thing, I’m pretty sure that readers aren’t supposed to like any of these women. They’re awful and far too eager to their prime-of-life glow (hence the They’re so Vein title). Susan and her family are indeed insufferably vain. Oh, yes, and she killed her sister’s dog in the thrust of bloodlust but she’s hot, just in case you forgot.
They’re so Vein is excessively wordy. The descriptions of clothing to staring into coffee cups are overwrought and rob the story of any sense of urgency it might otherwise possess. Even when turning her family members, the bleeding and the lack of pulse location was offset but unnecessary verbosity. Despite the multiple steps to every action, none of the characters were fleshed out. There were hostility and dysfunction among the women that was everything that is popular about the Real Housewives but without the heart or any sympathetic characters. We meet Susan’s sister, JoAnn, (owner of the dog soon to die) at the start of the novel as her aging bladder is the reason they’ve stopped at the public restroom. Susan makes her disdain of her sister clear and JoAnn is whiny but with the feeling of it being the way she communicates.
They’re so Vein isn’t just about vampires; Stec brings in a whole pantheon of supernatural creatures and does build an underworld for them that is connected and interesting but let down by its characters. I cannot better describe the feeling toward the newly minted vampires than one Amazon reviewer who said that they were so annoying, she was just waiting for them to be staked. The best thought-out character seems to be Christopher, the confrontational child vampire who turns Susan. When Susan and three generation of women come up against the Council, there seems to be a definite attempt at humor, but perhaps Stec and this reader don’t share a sense of humor because I found it to be cliched and indicative of badly scripted reality television without a laugh track to tell me exactly what I’m supposed to find funny.
There were few errors in They’re so Vein but, as mentioned, it could have used a red editing pen full of ink. The author could easily have cut 100 pages of the 339-page work of fiction and maintained the story laid out. Were there any redeeming qualities? The world was interesting but not interesting enough to recommend wading through the flood of language. Readers hoping to get some clarity on the characters will find them puddle shallow. They’re so Vein was an all-around disappointing read, though well rated on Amazon. If They’re so Vein sounds like a story for you, give it a shot and let me know what you think.
Read an excerpt and buy They’re So Vein (A Grateful Undead Book) by Susan Stec on