“Code Blood” by Kurt Kamm is an intriguing read. Being part of an emergency response team and having to deal with loss takes a lot of emotional adjustment. It is no exception for rookie fire paramedic Colt Lewis. When he responds to a tragic accident that results in a young woman’s foot being severed, Colt is extremely distraught, particularly because he is unable to find her foot. Believing that it could have been reattached, his hopes are dashed when he finds out that she died as a result of the trauma. Bothered by the senseless loss of a young life, and the fact that a person in the crowd of bystanders stole her foot, Colt decides to find out who this mystery woman was and where her foot went.
Visualizing her having had the perfect life, he is dismayed when he finds out that she was pregnant, and estranged from her white trash family. He also suspects that a Goth albino, who was at the scene of the accident, is the sick person who stole her foot. Markus, the albino, works for a medical research laboratory. He believes that he is a vampire and in addition to enjoying imbibing in human blood, he also has started a collection of dead body parts which he keeps in his freezer. The first addition to his collection was a human hand that was very expensive to acquire from a funeral home run by some creepy Russians. Unfortunately, for him, he ticked the Russians off and is being pursued by them because he owes them money. Markus’ drug use makes him even more paranoid about the Russians pursuit of him. The second addition to Markus’s collection is the dead woman’s foot, which he was pleased to be able to get for free.
While Markus is at work, he enjoys hacking into records of the employees. A Li, an Asian woman captures his attention. Referring to her as the “China Doll,” Markus is intrigued to discover that she has a very rare blood type, known as “Bombay.” Believing that her blood will grant him special powers and also knowing that he can make a great deal of money selling it to other vamps like himself, Markus sets out to trap A Li with the desire to acquire more blood than she can afford to lose.
While Markus is sinking deeper into his obsession, Colt continues to work as a paramedic and he also works on solving the mystery of the missing foot. Working hard to save lives, he is still haunted by the faces of those whom he cannot save. A Li also has her own issues and losses to lives with. It is not easy being a foreigner from a poor country with limited English skills. She is determined to do well, and her determination helps keep her alive. Everybody but Markus seems to be working hard on overcoming their limitations.
I really enjoyed reading “Code Blood” by Kurt Kamm. The author’s personal work experience helps him create vividly real scenes in which I found myself, either holding my breath or cringing as events take place that are outside of my comfort zone. The fact that “Code Red,” is written about an insane person who believes himself to be a real vampire is also very unnerving. When I read a paranormal, fictional vampire tale, I can get caught up in the unreal, imaginative drama. However, when I put that book down, the vampire disappears, because they only exist in our imaginations. In “Code Blood,” when I put the book down, the vampire fetishist didn’t go away, neither did the reality of our own mortality, nor did the illegally-operated funeral home. That is because people or situations like these can really exist. For me that is scarier than anything. I highly recommend this novel.
MCM Publishing (2011)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (9/12)