American Vampire, Vol. 2 (American Vampire #2) by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque (Illustrator), Mateus Santolouco (Illustrator)
It's been about ten years since Pearl and Skinner last met. Las Vegas used to be a sleepy little town but with the building of the Boulder Dam (Read: Hoover), Las Vegas has seen an influx of people. With drinking and prostitution now legal in order to amuse the workers in their off hours, police chief Cash McCogan wonders if Las Vegas well ever return to the town he was raised in. When members of the consortium responsible for the building up the damn show up dead through exsanguination, McCogan doesn't have time to engage in a stroll down memory lane. The monsters have crawled out from under the bed and he is ill equipped to deal with them.
Once again American Vampire splits the story between Skinner and Pearl but in the section that deals with Skinner, the story is largely told from the point of view of Cash McCogan. There's a part of me which is highly cognizant of the fact that Cash's story is predictable. Good guy finds out vampires exist and it doesn't end well has been done before but I found myself drawn in. I felt for Cash when he learned that his adopted father was a vampire all along and how it nearly shattered his world view. For all of Cash's life he has been lied to. I sincerely hope that we aren't done with this character. I want to know what he does with his vampire baby and if he seeks revenge against Skinner.
At this point, I believe Skinner to be just straight up evil which is actually a relief. We've had an onslaught of anti-heroes recently, so it's weird to have a straight up evil protagonist who isn't troubled in some way or experiencing something which humanizes them to make people find the character empathetic. There's absolutely nothing redeemable about Skinner. He kills for the fun of it, betrays his allies and is generally unrepentant about anything he's done.
The thing`about Skinner is that he keeps making enemies. He seems to have more lives than a cat, making it that much more satisfying when the slightest thing goes wrong for him. Because he is so unrepentant, it's easy to want to see him get his and I cannot help but think that when this series finally comes to and end, it will be with Skinner getting everything he has coming to him. Pearl may not be actively chasing him, or ready to betray him because he is her creator but others have no such reason for loyalty.
Pearl's story is quite separate from Skinner. She's settled into a happy life with Henry, but worries about the darkness in her soul. She wonders if he's content with the life they are living given that she's pretty much immortal and he only has so many days in front of him. For his part, Henry thinks about the day he will ask Pearl to make him like her and is certain that when it's time to make that decision, he doesn't want to make it from a position of fear.
In this volume we also visit with Hattie. Yes, Hattie survived Pearl's beat down because to kill a vampire, one must destroy both the brain and the heart. Even though it is Hattie who originally betrayed Pearl, she's determined to get vengeance for the beating she received which lead to her imprisonment. Hattie heads to the place Pearl once said she would retire to when she got out of Hollywood, only to just miss Pearl and Henry. It's not enough to dissuade Pearl from her quest though.