The Tale of the Body Thief – The Vampire Chronicles, Book 4 (1992)
by Anne Rice

Anne Rice is a master of overwriting – no phrase too mundane that it doesn't get a baroque flourish. "I'm home!" becomes, "I have arrived at my comfortable abode of great finery!"

Yet, her style generally seems to work for the Vampire series. She's a sensualist, diving into passages about eating pasta with the same gusto as, say, I eat pasta. And she's an eroticist, sexualizing every simple act, and especially the horrible ones. When Lestat slowly kills a fat, sweaty victim early in The Tale of the Body Thief, it reads like he's gently fucking him to death.

So yeah, Rice's stuff is incredibly gay in every sense of the word. But there's something compelling about vampires, and stories about vampires. And Rice is really good at writing them.

Body Thief starts excruciatingly slow, so that I almost stopped listening after the first florid hour (I "read" the audiobook version). But then the miniscule plot kicked in, and I found myself unable to … put it down? Turn it off? Ctrl-Alt-Delete it? Man, technology sure does change the language.

In the interest of experiencing mortal life again, eternal metrosexual Lestat switches bodies with a huckster psychic, who fails to make their appointment to switch back. So Lestat enlists the help of an old British fag to track down the body thief and restore Lestat to his immortal vampiric queerness.

It's a better book than Queen of the Damned (which I never finished), if only because it dispenses with the rock-and-roll nonsense. There's nothing worse than fake song lyrics by would-be rock star authors … that kind of thing just makes my skin crawl.

Through his adventures, Lestat gets a better understanding of what it is to be human and how much better it is to be a vampire. He doesn't do all that much, as heÍs waylaid by a virus almost immediately – but he does rape a waitress, has sex with a nun, and befriends a dog. All common enough human experiences.

The resolution of the main plot is pretty easy to predict – this being a Lestat book, there's no way it'll end with him dying in a human body. But an epilogue adds a surprising twist that reminds the reader why Lestat considers himself the devil incarnate. And it paves the way to the next book, which I'm surprised to find I'm looking forward to.

Gay indeed, but more ""Queer Eye" than "Surprise By Design." (?)

Review by Crimedog