by Zoe Markham
Genre: YA Fantasy/Horror
Release Date: July 2017
Summary from Goodreads:
Benjamin is a programmer moonlighting as a security guard at Dystopia, a seedy club that caters to the down-and-outs, the desperate, the addicts. He’s been building his reputation, saving for a way out – but when he rescues a young woman from the nearby estate, he may just have stepped too far out of line…
Lucy is ordinary; a girl with a deadbeat boyfriend, a normal life and college studies. But when her world takes an odd twist, she starts to wonder about the people she’s meeting, the situations she’s in, the odd aversions and attacks happening around her. They’re just coincidences…aren’t they?
And Zack is in deep trouble. He’s losing his girlfriend, drowning in debt, and has dwindling job prospects – and that’s not the worst of it. His debt is to people who won’t ever forget it, and who want the things closest to Zack’s heart: his blood – and his life. In the heart of Swindon, an ancient order hides in plain sight, spreading their influence through the streets like a disease. But despite their widespread power they are catching up with the modern world: the vampires are going online, and the Order is about to become more powerful than even they would have dreamed…
Ben could feel the pulsing of the club’s bass in the air, as another Big Saturday Night loomed for the locals. He never understood why any of them would want to spend their time in a dark, overcrowded room filled with the same souls who cluttered up their front gates and front rooms all week long. They drank the same drinks and listened to the same music, took the same drugs and got into the same fights. The only difference was that at Dystopia they had to pay well over the odds for the privilege, in more ways than one. He knew he should be grateful. If they didn’t show up every Saturday night and consistently line Viktor’s pockets, life would be a whole lot more complicated. And if Ben hadn’t come up with a way to bleed even more cash out of the ones who stayed home, he’d be working nights out here a whole lot more. And that didn’t bear thinking about.
As he pushed back his hood, he caught sight of Dan looking decidedly unhappy on the door. Ben checked his watch and saw that he was only fifteen minutes late. It wasn’t even midnight yet; the real troublemakers would only just be starting to rise to the surface. There would still be police doing the rounds for an hour or so yet. Well not Police-police, the dress-up ones – Community Support Officers. They’d give the usual suspects a telling off and throw some empty threats in a stern tone if need be. They’d run for cover at the first sign of any real trouble though. And people wondered how things had ever got so bad around here . . .
Dan’s granite jaw was sporting an angry scowl beneath a light covering of snow. Before Ben even got one syllable into a greeting, he’d hooked his staff pass around Ben’s neck, pressed the ornamental walkie-talkie into his hand, spat his gum out at his feet, and turned to make his way inside.
Must’ve been a long fifteen minutes, Ben thought to himself, looking around. There was no queue and no sign of any trouble, but nevertheless it looked like he wouldn’t have a chance to nip inside to see if there was anything he needed to catch up on. It had been almost a month since he was last here. Little ever changed, but there might be new faces to watch out for. Still, it wasn’t likely to be anything he couldn’t handle either way. Sighing and stretching indulgently on the spot, he planted his feet, ready to wait out his shift.
The staff pass that Dan had unceremoniously offloaded was generic, and pointlessly decorative. The regulars knew how the place was run, and the whole point of the club was to turn anyone who got through the door into a regular. They didn’t bother with photo ID. Dystopia was Swindon’s best known family-run night club. And it was invite-only on a Saturday night.
Everyone with an invite recognised the staff, and knew never to mess with them. No one needed to see a pass anyway – the pallid skin, red-rimmed eyes and unmistakable attitude were easy identifiers. Every member of staff’s body-language, from bouncers to bartenders, screamed: “There is not a single thing you could ever do to hurt me.”
They were more than just staff, of course, but the punters never found that out until it was too late.
They were Clan, an ancient order of immortals hiding in plain sight.
The select, foolish few who turned up without an invite to try their luck were soon shown the error of their ways, invariably in a manner they wouldn’t soon forget. That said, it was generally implied that as long as they had the entrance fee, they would be welcome the following night. It was something of a mixed message, but somehow it always seemed to get through.
About the Author
Mild-mannered editor by day, puppet-master of broken souls by night.
Vamps & ’choons – a Blood Bank Playlist!
Unlike most authors I know, I never listen to music while I write. It’s not that I don’t love music, I do! It’s just that I can’t listen and type at the same time for love nor money. My mind can’t process the two activities simultaneously. In fact, a lot of the time when I write, particularly in the summer when everyone’s outside and all the windows are open, I tend to write wearing earplugs. It’s my weird way of completely immersing myself in my made-up world.Although I don’t listen while I’m actually writing, a lot of my ideas for characters come when I’m out walking, usually backwards and forwards to the supermarket or traipsing out the school run. I pretty much always have my headphones in, so there’s still a relationship there, even if it’s maybe not quite so obvious as actually belting out tunes while I write.In Blood Bank’s case, music features quite prominently in the novel itself. There’s Ben’s 90s Indie fixation alongside the Grime soundtrack to life on the estate and in the club. Both genres of music that I enjoy, and that have the ability to make me feel like two different people when I listen to them.There are always songs in my head for each of my characters, whether the songs themselves inspire them, or a new song on the radio makes me think of them. I’d love to know what you think of my choices, and whether you hear anything different when you read the book!
Blood Bank Playlist(There are a couple of tracks featuring ‘explicit’ lyrics. As with the book itself, this isn’t one for younger readers/ears.)
1. Fools Gold – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSD11dnphg0
This is what I imagine Ben listening to as he walks through the estate and tries to block out all the sounds around him. A character out of his time, his taste in music just one more thing that alienates him.
2. Bassline Junkie (Explicit) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1gl46hh3sQ
This track’s the one I think of when I see the estate, and most of the people around Ben. Energy, anger and passion. An easy-going humour on the surface, with a dangerous aggression sitting just beneath.
3. Shut up (Explicit) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqQGUJK7Na4
As above. Pure Penrill. There’s an almost tribal fury in this one. A sharp, showboating warning.
4. Take Me To Church – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVjiKRfKpPI
Every time I hear this playing I imagine Zach driving to church, thoughts churning over and over in his head, desperate to see a way out for himself.
5. Human – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3wKzyIN1yk
6. No Good – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svJvT6ruolA
I always imagine Lucy playing this one, so angry at Zach before she has any idea what he’s going through.
7. Don’t Look Back In Anger – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8OipmKFDeM
Ben’s anthem. I think he tries so hard not to, but he wrestles with the still-human part of himself so hard…
8. Master of Puppets – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnKhsTXoKCI
This one’s all Viktor. I’m not sure he’d like the style, but I do think he’d appreciate the sentiment
Feel free to contact me on Twitter if you have any other suggestions, and I’ll happily create a definitive playlist and make it public!
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