Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blood on the Ice / Ian Thomas Healy

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Humor/Urban Fantasy

Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words

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A prolific writer, Ian Thomas Healy has seventeen works available including Deep Six: A Just Cause Novel, which was a “Top 100 Semi-finalist” in the 2008 Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Awards. Healy lives with his family in Colorado. For more, visit Healy’s website.


The Fort McWilliams Fighting Aardvarks, a cellar-dwelling sub-minor-league hockey team from nowheresville, British Columbia, acquire a new player and suddenly begin winning. Then Hamisch “Hammie” Hamlisch, the first line right winger, discovers the reason – an infestation of vampires on the team.


Calling Blood on the Ice “Urban Fantasy” might be a stretch. Not because it doesn’t have the elements of this genre, as I understand them, but because calling Fort McWilliams urban feels like it is pushing the definition. However, it isn’t rural or suburban, so what else is left? Urban Fantasy fans with a sense of humor should find it to their tastes, but if vampires would normally send you running, don’t run yet.

If you could take away the vampires, Blood on the Ice would still be a funny story. Much of the setting is ripe for humor. Sports teams, especially those that aren’t doing very well, are good fodder for comedy . The idiosyncrasies of small towns and the cluelessness of many young males are always good for a laugh. Healy takes advantage of each of these. Throw in the vampires (good for a laugh in itself, given the apparent need for so many books to have them these days), add Healy’s approach to dealing with them, and you have a winner. Although there is plenty of tension and conflict in the story as Hammie Hamlisch, the protagonist, tries to stop the infestation of vampires on his hockey team, which kept the story interesting, what sets it apart from others is the humor.

One thing in Blood on the Ice that I can’t remember seeing before is a narrator who interrupts the story from time to time to comment, but whose identity isn’t apparent. It is obvious early on that the narrator isn’t Hammie and I quickly stopped wondering. I just viewed him or her as the all-seeing, all-knowing narrator. In the end, the narrator reveals his identity, and ties together a few loose threads in a very clever way.


Some adult language and sexual situations. If you’re easily offended by poking fun at religion, this might not be for you.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four stars

1 comment:

Ian said...

Thanks for the nice review, Al!