The Big Smoke, released in June 2015 by Clan Destine Press, is the follow-up to Blood and Dust. Together they form the ‘Vampires in the Sunburnt Country’ duology, telling the story of Kevin Matheson, outback mechanic cum vampire.
At the Melbourne launch, Alison Goodman said:
The Big Smoke dishes up delight in every form — astonishing blood magic, razor-sharp characters, and fast-paced excitement — all building into a beautifully realized and satisfying climax.
The Big Smoke is based on the old European vampire lore, but given a new bright Australian slant. These vampires wear a permanent sun squint and a pair of sunglasses. The book pulses with hot weather, hot blood and hot vengeance.
The Monaro is a character in its own right, thundering through the book. It is Kevin’s last link to his old human life, but also a symbol of possible escape.
For Mira’s bodyguard, Reece, worn out and fading a little more each day, the present is all he has. He is determined to spend it protecting his mistress, for better or worse.
But, as the two men head for a collision, the vampires of Brisbane have their own plans — plans that will lead Kevin and Reece down roads they never expected to travel.
And at the end of the line, at the intersection of loyalty and vengeance, both face the question: who are they willing to sacrifice to win the war?
This prologue bridges the two novels, which have been written to stand alone, although reading them in order will deliver a more complete experience:
His maker, Taipan, had told him that taking something and keeping it were two different things. He’d been talking about von Schiller’s goons impounding the Monaro, but the thought still tormented him. His father was well and truly gone, but his mother lingered inside Mira, the Strigoi; Maximilian von Schiller’s daughter.
Kevin still felt Mira’s presence at the edge of memory. He had a little of the bloodhag’s extraordinary blood in him, fused into his DNA when he’d been in the change from human to vampire. They were linked, he and she; she was seared into his molecules: the sound of her, the feel, the scent. Possibly he even possessed a little of her ability to use blood and the life experiences it contained in almost magical ways. It helped to make him a quick learner, but it also meant he could never get Mira out of his system. He relived Mira fucking him, blood smearing her chest, cruel delight twisting her lips. He couldn’t think of her without his cock growing hard, even as the bile rose in his throat. And he thought of her often.
He thought of his mother, trapped inside Mira, and was revolted.
Mira knew his mother better than he did.
But that would change when he killed her. Killing her would set them all free.