Fanged Trouble: Halloween Surprise
Author: Winnie Jerome
Cover Artist: N/A
Publisher: Torquere Press
Length: 29 pages
Unlikely couple Philippe and Adam from "Fuchsia: Fanged Trouble" are back. It's been two years since the zombie invasion, and the glare of publicity has waned. Adam has now traded his nights taunting vampires for nights managing his corporation. The formerly carefree shifter has become someone who's all work and no play.
To fix this, Philippe has planned a Halloween date night. Adam isn't as enthusiastic, and his reluctance touches off a fight. Now Philippe has to win Adam back, even if it means treading where no vampire has gone before -- into the turbulent waters of social media.
If you haven’t read Fanged Trouble, (reviewed here) you can still enjoy this short. I opted to review because the first one was cute. With a premise of “vampires and werewolves are known to the world, vampires are sexy but behind the times, and werewolves lack couth but rock social media,” there are lots of buttons to push for humor.
Vampires and werewolves have traditionally been enemies in this world, and old notions die hard, even between the lovers. Philippe and Adam’s bonding is partly dynastic and intended to quell the warfare; they don’t always get along even if they are very fond of each other. Which is not at all the same as understanding one another well. I’m not sure it qualifies as a Big Misunderstanding when they clash on an issue in this story, because Adam certainly does say what’s on his mind. Philippe just doesn’t have a clue what it means, and to Adam, it’s too obvious to explain. Finding that clue means the vampire must venture into territory well known to the werewolves--Twitter.
Halloween as a holiday is a trigger for one plot point but not the focus of the story; this would be fun year round. The backstory occupies the first several pages and comes as a fairly complete spoiler for the first tale, but does bring the reader up to date with this couple, using big chunks of exposition. I’m not sure that much recap was needed; the page time might have been better spent illustrating the couple and their pertinent foibles with some current activity. Things liven up considerably when the couple starts discussing their plans to celebrate.
When someone so very sheltered from social media wades into the deep end, there are endless possibilities for trouble. With no idea of the risks he's running, Philippe finds several, all flinchworthy and funny if it’s happening to someone else. The ending is sweet and hot as the couple makes up, and carries one last chortle at the end.
Unfortunately the worldbuilding and backstory was mostly accomplished in pages of infodumps, which took away from the comedy of the actual plot. The story still achieved humor where it wasn’t bogged down, and I did laugh out loud a few times. 3 marbles