Compassionate, hilarious, and occasionally irritating.Missouri Dalton must have run out of time.It's the most likely explanation for what turned out to be a fairly perplexing story—beautiful and full of abiding compassion, and then suddenly nonsensical and, in one tragic instance, completely silly.The ending. The ending was silly.They rode the metro, cool as you please, armed with a sword, to go kill the baddie by the ocean.And then took a cab home, naturally.So. That happened.And the sex was annoying: if it's not important to the story, fine—cool—doesn't have to be a porno all the time, I get it. But then why have, like, eight fade-to-black scenes? Highlighted by a curious fascination with spanking?In addition, there's the—frankly—ludicrous assertion that a millennial banshee would hesitate to fuck the ever-living shit out of his five-hundred-year-old master-vampire boyfriend for fear of "taking advantage," right after you find out that he—the millennial banshee—is still pissed-off at his manwhore siren ex for cheating on him fifty years ago, even though the ex is:a) a manwhore, b) as ancient a creature to walk the earth as he, andc) a goddamned siren, who loves to fuck men and occasionally eats them afterwards.[insert vicious essay on the embarrassing particulars of the human anti-cheating predisposition and the politics of possession in a post-chattel society *here*—previously excised because I'm rather fond of the friends I have left and would prefer not to alienate any more of them than I already have on the strength of impolitic, 4AM internet ragey-writez]But those are just dumb nitpicks, really. My biggest complaint here is pacing.This story, man... it's got heart. And fascinating themes, and personally relevant ones.You have yourself an orphan vampire, a former sailor and warrior, of late abandoned by the vampire who made him, to wander about a podunk third-tier metropolitan center like a paranormal Howard Hughes. Heartbreakingly lonely and horribly unaware of his own worth, he is a tragic and compelling figure, whose transformation into the Master of his "City" (hahaha, just kidding, it's just Boston) makes for an interesting and moving story.But some parts of that storyline happen too quickly, or off the page, or not at all.And that stinks, because the first 40 pages of this read like a wonderfully nuanced and sensitive portrait of The Loner, and would that I'd had the chance to read that story all the way through.Dalton must have run out of time. It's all I can think of.But:Man did I love the voice. The beginning is fucking hilarious, with a sneaky and not-so-sneaky joke density that approaches the sublime.I mean, the dude loves him some squirrels. Instead of humans? To feed on?Thinks they're "zesty."Wonderful!Plus the fun of ancient Gaelic creatures of mythology as deployed in a contemporary setting—with wit and cleverness and Jesus Christ do I want me a couple pookas to play with—is there some sort of website one may go to to solicit...?No?Ah, well. I can always revisit them here, along with the scene where our hero sinks into a squirrel "like a can of soda."I laughed my head off, and maybe you will, too.***My comments, specifically about the beautiful and unnervingly segregated city of Boston, have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with their team having eliminated my team from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.Nothing to do with that at all.Honest.