CODE BLOOD: KURT KAMM
Getting too close to a victim is not what a paramedic is supposed to do. Never really showing signs of compassion, understanding but instead rushing to the scene of a fire or accident, quickly assessing the injuries and damage to the people involved should be paramount. Colt Lewis is a paramedic/firefighter who is the central character of this graphic book filled with the unexpected, bizarre and strange events and characters that cross his path. Working in the under belly of Los Angeles, where the residents are odd, unusual and the occurrences you might say out of the ordinary and abnormal, Colt finds himself drawn to the victim of a tragic accident and the end result might be more than he expected. A young girl named Bibi spent time hiding out on the beach, changing her appearance and then walking off you might say into the sunset. So, how does she wind up hit by a pickup truck that hits a light pole and severs her leg above the ankle? Colt treats her injuries and tries to use all of his training and skills to care for her and place her in the Lifeline ambulance. Station 88 in Malibu is where he works and you hear the voices of his Captain and his partner Brian when Colt begins to get too close to the action and becomes obsessed with what happened to Bibi. Rather than becoming a rancher like his father in Wyoming he sells the ranch after the death of this father and became a paramedic. The odd or distracting part of the incident is that the girl’s foot is missing and no one at the scene recalls seeing it or the man who carried it away. Markus Draper is an albino, vampire man who works behind the scenes in a lab hoping to hack into different computers to help him prepare for his main event. He’s someone that thrives on blood, has blood fetishes and lavishes on the blood of others even the young girl covered in tattoos that he lives with and gives in to his every drink. A cadaver ring, body parts, a nano lab which is at the center of this novel, the homeless, drugs and more are just part of what Marcus so the so called vampire deals with. Enter Marcus’s house or his lair and see the many body parts in his refrigerator or on his shelves. But, this foot takes center stage and the end result sends Colt in a tailspin to learn more about where the foot might be and even coming face to face with Marcus as he realizes he is the one that stole it but why? The foot is his prize possession but a young girl named A Li working at the nano lab is his prime target. Learning that her blood group is not A, AB, B, O, or any other combination, he focuses on the fact that her blood group is known as Bombay a rare type. People with this type of blood are universal donors similar to those with type O. But, they can only receive blood from someone with the same blood type. Imagine lurking in the tunnels of the university where lab is located, thinking of her as “China Doll,” and waiting for the right moment to kidnap her and bleed her dry for profit. She is a Chinese immigrant that is focused on a project dealing with DNA genetics hoping to change stem cells into blood cells and change someone’s DNA makeup in order to save more lives. Added in there is a gang of Russian criminals who are into selling body parts and organs for profit. A Li befriends a young Indian man who is another researcher in her lab yet she is so fixated on her own work and the critiques of the man in charge of the research that she fends off any real friendships, focuses on her project and does not see the dangerous path that lies ahead. Spending hours after class in the lab alone, walking the tunnels that are dark and dank she often thinks she is being followed. Markus is crazy and lives a Goth vampire life, dressing the part, drinking blood and craving more Thinking about China Doll he envisions himself using her blood to quench his thirst, taking out so much in many different quantities and selling it to the highest bidder even on EBay. In need of money this seems to be his primary solution.
Colt intersects with Markus before he enters his own lab and when approaching him directly the interaction is quite disturbing. Realizing that he is the one that has the foot makes rude and obscene gestures at Colt, he stands helpless outside as he gives him the finger before getting down to the tasks at hand. Hearing Ali’s voice the reader is aware that although she is unsure of what lies ahead she feels that someone is haunting or following her. Coming from China near Tibet and dealing with political issues and having to leave her family and live in America, hoping to study and go back home, little does she know that a sick man with a body part fetish and blood fetish is after her.
The author shares Colt’s back-story about his father, living on the ranch, his grandfather and why they never understood his passion for helping others and leaving Wyoming to become a paramedic. Working at the station where he is presently assigned, he loved the camaraderie of the firefighters. Going to see a psychic only irritated him more as she did not seem to understand what he needed and suggested he get professional help. Bibi and her missing foot bothered him as we learn more about Markus and Audra and his goals. Waiting for her to return from a night at the club dancing, he insists on cutting her finger to drink her blood but he is becoming bored with her and lusts for Ali who is hard at work dissecting a little mouse for her research. The author describes her work in detail for anyone interested in going into the field of genetics and wants to learn how the dissection process works.
Markus went to meet Alexei who he owes money for a hand that is in his freezer. The foot seemed to be soft as if the person could have it reattached but when he could not pay him the full amount he sent his henchman to take it out in pain for Markus. At the same time Colt is dealing with another failed rescue of a young teen named Tyler. The rescue team did not get there in enough time to get him out of the car and although Colt has four days off now, his mind wanders to Tyler and then Bibi. Imagining her life, or what her life might have been and is determined to restore her foot and dignity. Hearing her voice in his head saying she can’t move on without her foot. At the same time A Li enters the lab and is about to continue her research. Hidden demons, secrets, pasts that Markus, Colt and even Audra cannot come to grips with, lies, betrayals and even Colt imagining his ex-girlfriend present in his dreams. Each one fighting to survive in they’re own created worlds but which will persevere?
Markus takes matters into his own hands after Grisha beats him to a pulp but his solution makes it even worse and the end result is he owes Alexei more money, another drug dealer a huge amount and his quest for cash is stifled by his greed, lust and wrong choices. Added in China Doll or A Li is still his obsession and while she creates a special ceremony in the lab to commemorate her late sister’s birthday, forgetting her own, she falls prey to the darkness of the lab, her tiredness and winds up with a huge bump on her head. Dealing with the research, Colt dealing with trying to find out whom Bibi really is, Markus searching for solutions each one fighting off demons of his/her own. Colt enters to morgue and is told Bibi’s body is there but does not want to see it he just wants to have her identified so he can tell her family. This story takes on many different directions but will Markus and Colt come face to face? Will the body parts ring be stopped? What happens when Alexei demands more money and daily interest?
Things changed as A Li is summoned to come home because her father has taken ill and now she has a huge decision to make. Sitting in the lab she hears a noise and when she sees the albino or Markus coming at her will she be able to save her life or will he finally get his prize: HER BLOOD? The path to freedom is not always what you can expect and she seems to see her sister and talks to her every step of the way when she has to decide how to fight for her life, whether to take the research she has done back with her to China and how to deal with the end result of her actions. Colt is still trying to learn more about Bibi/Darci and when the harsh reality of her life comes shining through and he hears her parents recount their thoughts what he does will surprise readers. Will he find the foot? If he does what will he do with it? Will he understand that compassion is great but getting too close to victims can be destructive? What happens to Markus you will have to learn for yourself as author Kurt Kamm gives a surprise ending that even Markus will not expect or see coming. What about the ring selling drugs? Will they be caught and will Colt ever come to grips with the sadness in his heart about the end result for both Tyler, his mother and the truth he learned about her death and Darci. The next time he is called let’s hope that he does not have to declare the call and say: CODE BLOOD!
Great character that can handle this as a stand-alone novel or in a series because he is smart, astute and has a lot to learn about being a paramedic and his team is great and supportive. What about A Li? Will she return and be with Tanay? Code Blood: A must read with a powerful story dealing with greed, money, power, blood fetishes, and vampire attributes and dealing with demons and secrets that can destroy.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine