Until a week ago, I had given up on novels. A horrible thing to happen to anyone who loves books, but the last five novels I had picked up, on recommendations, or because I'd read reviews of them, or just because the cover art was pretty, I put down again before I was halfway through. Everything was Extremely Literary (overwritten, dull) or ChickLit (insipid, dull).

But then I cleaned up my room and found, in one of my piles of stuff, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo—and now I am firmly back in the novel's cheering section, perhaps even waving silly pompoms and doing kicks in a very short skirt.

Some backstory, which explains why it was in my room in the first place: A while back, I worked as an intern at The Stranger, where I was the first person to sift through the bins of books that get sent from publishers for possible review. And on the bottom of one of those bins, I found The Nymphos of Rocky Flats. The name made me giggle, so I stuffed the book into my bag, stealing it away with me. Then, I apparently just threw it on the floor and let other shit pile up, forgetting about it until last week.

Nymphos begins with the assertion "I don't like what Operation Iraqi Freedom has done to me. I went to the war a soldier. I came back a vampire." The narrator, Felix Gomez, is a guilt-wracked soldier who was turned into a vampire after he and his fellow soldiers accidentally gunned down a village of civilians. You could look at Gomez's condition as a metaphor (especially because Nymphos was, eerily and coincidentally, released right when Time magazine broke the news of the real-life civilian massacre in Haditha—I can only hope that the soldiers responsible for that tragedy feel as guilty and wretched as Felix) but ultimately, Acevedo doesn't seem to have any meta-purpose behind Felix's fangs.

After Felix is discharged from the army, he becomes a private investigator (!) because as a vampire, with his powers of night vision, sixth sense, and levitation—what, you didn't know vampires can levitate?—he is obviously very well-qualified to rid the world of violent criminals. Because of his abilities, he gets a call from an old college buddy to investigate an outbreak of nymphomania (!!) at the Rocky Flats Closure Project, a former nuclear-weapons plant. This investigation drives the rest of the story.

Acevedo's writing isn't skillful, at least not in any literary sense; his sentences are short and stiff, his metaphors flat-out suck, and he actually uses the words "meat missile" to describe a penis. (Full sentence: "My orange aura sizzled with jealousy at the image of Wendy gleefully impaling herself on that meat missile." HOT!) Some of the major plot twists aren't logical. And the title guarantees that I would never, ever read it on the bus.

But despite these flaws, I love this book so much that it has restored my faith in novels and I would whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone. As a whole, Nymphos is just so readable and engaging that I never felt annoyed at its lacking language. The fact is, Nymphos is the most imaginative story I've read in months. It's trashy and silly and so much fun. Like any whodunit, there are car chases and gunfights, sex (duh) and redemption; but it also has vampire hunters, a hot dryad, and lots and lots of animal blood. Nymphos never loses its pulpy exuberance; it's clear that Acevedo's not taking himself seriously, which is why the breakdown of genre boundaries works.

A few weeks ago, I was helping a high schooler at 826 Seattle with a novel he had written. At 826 Seattle, kids can get help with their homework or writing; it's free, volunteer-run, and just generally a fun place to hang out. I gently suggested that, even though he really wanted to include aliens in his story, introducing them in the last chapter was maybe a little jarring to the reader. And I truly believed that—until I got to the penultimate chapter of Nymphos where, to my surprise, Acevedo throws aliens into the mix and it... works. So Andrew, I'd like to offer you an apology; sometimes, alien closers are incredibly effective.