A Prescription for Delirium
From Amazon: “Ninety years ago, Gabriella di Luca promised to protect the family of her dying lover. She failed to keep that promise. She was too far away to stop the devil that murdered the eldest Van Helsing son. Years later, Gabby learns the devil has resurfaced. She arrives in Hampton, TX, determined to stop the devil before it can lay a bloody hand on the remaining three brothers.
However, madness is spreading through Hampton. She suspects the devil is using this madness to test a drug which has a side effect of demonic possession. Gabby rushes to end the source of the madness only to fall victim to it. For a woman cursed with eternal life, dying is no threat. However, Gabby must stop the devil’s plot or risk losing her most precious possession: her mind.”
Small-town Hampton, Texas is attracting demons. Fortunately for Hampton, it’s also attracting demon-hunters and Van Helsings, who are determined to prevent the town from being overrun by violent madmen and horrible, demonic creatures that may or may not once have been human. The three Van Helsing brothers are more accustomed to fighting vampires, though, and Gabriella di Luca, resident demon expert, has a few traits that trigger suspicion. There is much bickering, mouthing off, and mistrust in all directions, which makes working together to end the threat all the more difficult.
The Good is pretty much everything. I loved the characters most, though. Prescription for Delirium is definitely a character-driven story, and everyone we come across is meaty and awesome. Gabby is a strong female protagonist with plenty of problems and a bucket and a half of insecurity, but her foibles are human and real, and they do not at all detract from the fact that she is a powerful, experienced woman. The Van Helsing siblings made me nervous, because it can be difficult to create fictional relatives who aren’t clones of each other, but these perfectly balanced family resemblance with distinct personalities. Honestly, I spend most of the book desperately wanting to give Tres and Esais a great big hug. Adrian is seriously asking for a cattle prod in the arse, but I’m scared of him, so I’ll pass. The villains are chilling.
Despite being character-driven, the plot does not at all fall by the wayside. I found it really original, and I love it when authors bring back Van Helsings in fun ways.
I also love fantasy set in Texas. The Lone Star State really doesn’t get enough love from fantasy authors, and I love Cosper’s depiction of small-town Texas. I could practically feel the grit blowing up from the dirt roads and smell the funnel cake from the county carnival. It’s also refreshing to see small-town Texans NOT depicted as toothless hicks in overalls, which seems to be the stereotype we get when we’re represented at all. Cosper’s Texans are realistic, welcoming, and a bit reactionary, and they cope pretty well with being attacked by Hell’s minions. Of course, I understand that Cosper herself is a resident of our noble State, so it makes sense that she would understand just how awesome we are.
There’s not much I would really call bad, only a few things I felt could be improved. The plot felt a little bit rushed, in places. I would have liked to see more of Gabriella’s preparations and interactions with the Van Helsing boys. There was a lot of running and driving and fighting, which is all very exciting, but it left very little time to figure out what just happened before diving headlong into the next piece of action.
One thing that did bother me (but is purely a matter of author prerogative, and as such cannot really be criticized, except as my own little peeve) was the apparent genealogy of the Van Helsings. Cosper’s Van Helsings seem to be an old Romanian family, and she has them speak to one another in Romanian several times through the course of the book. She never explains how they went from the Netherlands to Romania, if that was the case, or how they intermarried with Romanians or emigrated, or whatever happened, there. Considering how well everything else in the book was considered and researched, I seriously doubt that it was just an oversight, and I understand there are several more books in which this might be explained, but it puzzled my inner Stoker fan.
I’m really looking forward to the next volume. Cosper’s mythology is fascinating, and I can’t wait to explore it further.