The word vespers in the title of this book is zoologist shorthand for vespertilionids, the family of small, insect-eating bats that includes the little brown bat. In the beginning of the novel, this ordinary bat, which normally never attacks human beings, is going crazy in packs and biting people in a suburb of New York City. An expert bat zoologist--in the form of an attractive but lonely young woman who works at the Natural History Museum--is called to the scene. One strange event involving bats follows another, and soon, a gruff but endearing New York cop is also on the case. They are called to investigate an enormous mound of guano in a subway under the city. If you know anything at all about the horror subgenre of mutant monster animals in the New York subway (think of the movies Alligator and Mimic), you know it won't be long before the lady zoologist and the male copper are falling in love while hot on the trail of monster bats--in this case, two of them, with 30-foot wing spans.
Author Jeff Rovin is the author of a wide variety of books on TV, movies, and cartoons. He knows the conventions of silly, scary monster tales, and spins them out adroitly in Vespers. The book reads like the screenplay for the inevitable movie: director Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black) has plans to film it. Is it ridiculous and shallow? Yes. Is it fun anyway? You betcha. --Fiona Webster