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Literature / Fred, The Vampire Accountant

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He's not suave but he can do your taxes.
I almost certainly do not know you; however, I shall assume you are a lovely person, and it is my loss for not having the opportunity to meet you. Still, I must assume you and I are connected in some way, for the works you are about to read are selections from a journal of my memoirs. I compiled these not in the belief that the stories within are so compelling they must be told, but rather because I found my expected life transition to be so shocking uneventful—at least initially.
Frederick Frankford Fletcher, CPA

Fred, the Vampire Accountant is a series of humorous Urban Fantasy novels by Drew Hayes. The novels focus on Frederick Frankford Fletcher, an ordinary CPA, who finds himself attacked by a vampire one fine night, himself becoming a vampire in the process. How does his life change? Not much, he's still shy, unsociable, and detests conflict of any form. Except now he's forced to work from home and drink blood (which he buys from a hospital administrator he knows).

Fred's quiet life is shattered, when he decides to finally take a chance and go to his high school reunion. While there, he reconnects with Krystal, an old friend of his, who has grown into a stunning woman. Then the reunion is attacked by a pack of hungry werewolves, and Fred finds out that Krystal works for a secret agency that hunts down bad supernatural creatures and is one of their top field agents. It's not long before Fred and Krystal start dating, and Fred's life goes from one excitement to another largely thanks to her dragging him into her work. He even makes a few new friends, such as a zombie named Albert and a weresteed named Bubba.

The series consists of the following novels:

  1. The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant (2014)
  2. Undeath and Taxes (2015)
  3. Bloody Acquisitions (2016)
  4. The Fangs of Freelance (2017)
  5. Deadly Assessments (2018)
  6. Undeading Bells (2019)
  7. Out of House and Home (2021)
  8. Posthumous Education (2022)

The series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: In the right hands, the Sword of the Unlikely Hero can cut through anything. At one point, Albert manages to slice a car in half without breaking a sweat (not that zombies sweat). At another point, he manages to "cut" a Flesh Golem chimera back into its constituent animals.
  • Acronym Confusion: When Amy mentions that her supernatural drugs pass any ATF muster, Fred guesses that this ATF she's talking about doesn't stand for "Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms''. Amy explains that this ATF stands for "Alchemy, Thaumaturgy, and Freshness". She adds that the third bit was probably added to complete the acronym. Not only is it easier to hide a magical agency under an existing acronym, but the magical ATF can use the same uniforms as the normal ATF (we are talking about government bureaucracy, after all).
  • Alliterative Name: Frederick Frankford Fletcher. No wonder he prefers "Fred."
  • Antiquated Linguistics: When Krystal takes Fred to a LARP session in a park, she creates a vampire character for him with the name Count Frederick. When the session begins, a woman dressed as a vampire approaches him and starts a conversation. Unsure how to behave himself, he initially starts using old-fashioned words like "verily". She's initially annoyed but doesn't break character, simply telling "Count Frederick" that he may use modern language. He takes the hint.
  • Arranged Marriage: Richard reveals to Fred that his little daughter is betrothed to Gideon, an ancient dragon, which is why Gideon lives with him and usually appears as a little boy, acting as the girl's playmate. Gideon is extremely protective of her. It's explained that she still has a choice and can refuse to marry Gideon when she's of age. The betrothal is a Loophole Abuse that allows Gideon to intervene in therian affairs to protect the girl from attacks by rival therians. Richard took this step after his wife was killed in inter-factional conflict.
  • Artistic License: In the fifth book, Deborah explains the prospect of drinking animal blood with a food analogy — you can have an orange for breakfast, or you can have a donut, and while both are nourishing, you'll need more donuts to get the energy you need. While her explanation gets the point across, the actual reason donuts are considered an "unhealthy" option is that they have more calories (aka energy) than fruit.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: It's common for the leader of all therians in an area to be an "alpha", the biggest and toughest of all therians. In Fred's town, this "alpha" is Richard, a werelion.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: In book 7, Asha reveals that she Took a Level in Badass after becoming a vampire and manages to fight off a monster sent by Quinn single-handedly.
  • Binding Ancient Treaty: The contract between the Founding Fathers and the American supernatural beings.
  • Courier: In book 5, Fletcher Accounting is hired by Gideon to serve in this capacity. Why? Because the magical artifact that needs to be delivered to him has a With Great Power Comes Great Insanity effect on anyone living (except Gideon, as he's already incredibly powerful), and Fletcher Accounting employs only undead (Fred, Albert, Lilian). They are ambushed by Serpentines, who wish to take the artifact for themselves.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When Lilian saves Fred from Colin, she is about to feed on him. Thinking fast, Fred makes up a crazy theory that Colin might have laced his blood with silver for just such an eventuality. Lilian decides not to chance it. As Krystal reveals later on, Fred's wild guess was right on the money.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Krystal has a devil living inside her, which comes out when her life is in mortal danger. The devil won't allow her to die and can rip apart most Parahumans with ease. As a bonus point, it also burns calories like crazy, meaning Krystal can eat whatever she wants without gaining a single pound.
  • Daywalking Vampire: While Fred is still afraid of sunlight, just like every other vampire, at the end of the second book, he somehow gains an immunity to silver (presumably due to Gideon using him as a temporary vessel earlier). He later uses this to beat another vampire in a test of endurance (i.e. holding a silver dagger for as long as he can), as the other guy doesn't know about his immunity. In book 6, after Asha's Emergency Transformation, she has to ingest Sheriff Leeroy's blood to survive silver poisoning and not only gains an immunity to it but also gains silver-like claws and fangs.
    • There are only two places where vampires can walk in broad daylight: the Fey realm and Trestlevend University campus.
  • Differently Powered Individual: The official term for a supernatural being is "Parahuman". Also, Fred refers to himself several times as an Undead-American.
  • Erotic Asphyxiation: This is how Albert died. He's pretty embarrassed to talk about it, and Fred, understandably, doesn't ask for details.
  • The Fair Folk: The Fey are Parahumans, who exist in another dimension. There are many different kinds of Fey, but few of them ever come over to our world, as they like theirs better. The Agency has locked down all crossover points from our world to the Fey world. Only agents or someone escorted by an agent are allowed to pass. Unlike the other Parahumans, the Fey aren't hurt by silver. They are, however, hurt by iron, which isn't present in their world. They make sure that no one brings iron to their world. They are similar to dracolings in that they treat all agreements as Serious Business, even something as private as a betrothal. Breaking off a betrothal requires one to jump through a lot of hoops, even if one has a valid reason for that (e.g. one's partner being a cheater). The Fey are generally divided into Summer and Winter courts, which tend to be rivals. In one book, Fred encounters Hellebore, the ruler of Winter. She tricks him into owing a favor to her, which she eventually calls in to get him to teach a course in human business practices at Trestlevend University. Fred also has Al, a Summer pixie, working for him. In book 8, Al turns out to be a Summer royal.
  • Family Theme Naming: Krystal's friend is a half-Fey named June, who also has a brother named September.
  • Fantastic Drug: Amy specializes in making drugs that work for supernatural creatures, all of whom have a high resistance to drugs. She explains that the reason she got into biology was to be able to grow better weed. Her "kidnapping" in one story turns out to be an accidental exposure to her own product.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: While Fred is usually quick to befriend people — even people who try to kill him the first time they meet — Neil is an exception. While he's a member of the House of Fred, he and Fred have a much colder relationship than pretty much any other two members of the House. They're not openly hostile to each other and usually just treat each other as The Friends Who Never Hang, but when circumstances force them to actually interact, tensions very quickly get high. It's not until the sixth book, while forced to go through a magical labyrinth with just each other to lean on, that they begin settling their differences and truly warming up to each other.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Fred is a textbook example. He's nonviolent, courteous, tends to keep to himself, and buys his blood from a hospital. As of book 4, Lilian also seems to be on her way there. Deborah in book 5 is a curious case. She's so old she no longer feels the need to play the power game or to be needlessly cruel. She'll kill if she has to, but her philosophy is that she's powerful enough to show mercy. For example, it's no unusual for her to feed on someone without draining them. She then licks the puncture wounds to heal them, and leaves the victim none the wiser (if a bit tired).
  • Genius Loci: In the second book, Fred goes to a bed-and-breakfast on the outskirts of town and ends up being trapped by the house itself, which turns out to have been animated by a group of rogue mages. After the mages were wiped out by agents, the house (named Charlotte Manning) turns itself into a BnB in order to have some company again. Fred ends up helping Charlotte resolve an ownership dispute and signs on as her accountant with power-of-attorney (as Charlotte, quite obviously, can't go anywhere). Later on, Fred mediates a rental agreement between Charlotte and Arch, and later Krystal moves there as well. When Deborah is evaluating Fred in book 5, she temporarily moves into Charlotte Manor. She admits that a large reason for that is Charlotte's well-known cooking (vampires might not get any nourishment from humans food, but they still have taste buds). In book 7, Quinn ends up burning down Charlotte Manor, although Fred and his friends end up saving Charlotte's essence by transferring her to a model of the manor built by Amy. While the House of Fred is temporarily staying in Richard's building, Gideon hires Charlotte to be his personal assistant, setting up access for her in a number of rooms of the building. At the end of the book, Gideon purchases Fred's old apartment building and has Charlotte installed as its essence.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: There are plenty of hybrids across the country. Early on, Fred encounters dracolings, who are mostly human but have dragon blood as well. Krystal's friend June and her brother September are half-Fey. Later on, Fred meets an Agency accountant named Roderick, who reveals that he's a half-demon (specifically, a demon of greed).
  • Healing Factor: Many types of Parahumans have it to varying degrees. Vampire wounds, for example, heal pretty quickly, especially if they've recently ingested blood. This can be annoying if a vampire hasn't yet removed a blade from a wound, since the wound then has to be reopened in order to pull out the blade. Arch can survive tons of damage to his body, with most of it healing in a matter of seconds. Even Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain only takes him out of action for about 10 seconds. It's stated that shapeshifters heal faster in their animal forms. This can also apply to humans ingesting vampire blood. Silver tends to inhibit healing in the vast majority of Parahumans.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Believe it or not, a lot of Fred's achievements stem from his status as a Certified Public Accountant, either as the reason he was in these situations, or by giving him the means to resolve them the way he did. It helps that this is a rare skill among Parahumans.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Neil and Albert, having grown up together. After Albert's death, Neil was distraught. After discovering he had magical potential, he used necromancy to raise Albert as a zombie. When Albert is in danger during the trial Arch puts him through, Neil demands to be allowed to help his friend. He ends up boosting Albert's power, allowing the latter to defeat the monster. Arch then starts training them both, with Albert as the front-line combatant and Neil as his magical support.
  • Human All Along: In the story about an old amusement park, Fred, Bubba, and Richard keep encountering things that appear to be either ghosts or another type of Parahuman. Then it turns out that it's just a gang of meth dealers that's trying to scare them off using masks and cheap tricks.
  • Hunter of Monsters:
    • Krystal is a top field agent for a secret agency that hunts down villainous supernatural creatures and keeps the peace with the good ones.
    • In the second book, Fred meets June, Krystal's almost-sister-in-law, who is half-Fey, and Arch, Krystal's mentor, who is even more badass than Krystal.
    • At the beginning of the third book, Fred is being hunted by a normal human named Colin, who has somehow learned that Fred is a vampire and goes after him using "standard" Hollywood anti-vampire implements, such as garlic (which is only mildly irritating to a vampire) and silver (Fred becomes immune to silver at the end of the second book). Krystal later reveals that Colin's family was slaughtered by a rogue vampire, who kept him for last, but Colin managed to get the vampire with a silver knife in the forehead, when it was his turn.
    • In book 8, Fred and his students accidentally end up in an ancient castle in the Fey realm that was home to a group of humans dedicated to hunting Parahumans. They even find classrooms with depictions of the best ways of killing various types of Parahumans (except Fey, for some reason). Headmaster Sequoin reveals that Trestlevend campus used to be the site of their base in this realm, but their own hubris proved to be their undoing when they attempted to kill the mother of all dryads.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Fred hasn't given much thought about his vampire sire, since, by the time he came to after being turned, the other vampire has left. Then Quinn returns and expresses his disappointment that Fred hasn't gone on a killing spree across the city. Apparently, Quinn specifically targeted Fred, assuming his mild-mannered exterior was an indicator of suppressed rage at the world. However, instead of using his newfound powers to get back at the people, who used to pick on him, Fred merely continued to live a quiet life. Naturally, the feeling of dislike is reciprocated, especially after Quinn kidnaps Krystal in order to force Fred to become a monster. Later on, Fred finds out that the odds of a turning being successful are actually pretty small, meaning Quinn likely killed dozens of people before successfully turning him. In the fourth book, Quinn raids an Agency base in order to get his revenge on Fred using a number of other vampires he turned (meaning, in all likelihood, he killed several hundred people before getting those to turn successfully), using a magical artifact to amplify his control over the vampires. His goal is to mind-control Fred, then force him to kill his friends one-by-one, which would eventually force Krystal to put him down.
  • Joker Immunity: Quinn. So far, he has attacked agents twice, and has managed to flee both times, even though attacking agents is typically a death sentence. He also seems to have pissed off every major (and minor) player in the Parahuman world, including the Fey, who live in another dimension. So it's not entirely certain how he is still alive (well, not fully dead).
  • Jousting Lance: In order to save Krystal and Bubba from dracolings, he challenges them. The latter set him up in a jousting match at the Excalibur in Vegas against their champion. Not being a professional knight, Fred is utterly owned by the champion twice. Fred manages to win by having Bubba (in pony form) run as fast as he can and then ride him like a surfboard. He then uses his arm to deflect the champion's lance and uses his own as a baseball bat, knocking over not only the champion but his horse as well. When the dracolings claim that it doesn't count, Krystal explains that, according to their rules, it does.
  • Kill and Replace: The last story of the second book has Fred and Krystal go to a party at Richard's building. Fred takes one look at Gideon and realizes it's not him. Arch immediately confirms that he already knows that. However, killing a dragon as old and powerful as Gideon would result in a huge magical ripple wave, so the other dragon has merely trapped him in an inescapable magical prison.
  • Loophole Abuse: When threatened by an aggressive vampire clan, Fred decides to try to avoid either joining them or being killed by forming a vampire clan of his own. At the meeting with representatives of the other clan, he discovers that Krystal has learned about his plan and asks several of Fred's friends to join his new clan. As it turns out, the laws governing vampires don't actually require all clan members to be vampires, just Parahumans. In the next book, though, the other house has filed a grievance against Fred with the Blood Council, claiming that he's not a "true vampire" and thus can't be allowed to form a clan of his own. The Council sends Deborah to evaluate Fred and determine whether the House of Fred should be purged or not. In the latter case, the petitioner is the one paying the price for wasting the Council's time. Fred also learns that the treaties prevent anyone from intervening, if Deborah rules against Fred.
  • Love Interest: Krystal to Fred. Given Fred's shyness, Krystal is the one making all the moves. He proposes to her at the end of book 4, and she accepts. They get married at the end of book 6, with Gideon officiating no less.
  • Magically-Binding Contract:
    • Anything said to dracolings constitutes a verbal agreement and is bound by magic. Agents like Krystal have to take a 2-year certification course just to be able to interact with them, and the certification must be renewed annually.
    • The Fey also tend to treat any and all agreements seriously, which includes betrothals. After Fred's proposal at the end of book 4, Krystal is summoned to the land of the Fey in order to undergo trials, after which she will be freed from her obligation to marry September Windbrook.
  • Manly Gay: Bubba is a big tough guy with a slight southern accent, whose favorite pastime involves drinking lots of beer. His day job is driving a truck. Then Krystal reveals that he's gay and has a crush on Fred.
  • The Masquerade: The agency Krystal works for keeps the knowledge of supernatural beings a secret from the humans. When asked if they wipe memories, Krystal says she wishes her agency had a device like that. Nope, they have to use lies, false evidence, and friends in high places, not to mention the normal human Weirdness Censor.
  • The Maze: In book 6, Amy brings Fred, Albert, Neil, and Fred's new bodyguard Gregor to a mage she knows, who wanted to show her something. When they arrive, they find themselves in a maze with magical traps and puzzles. Fred and Neil even end up running away from a minotaur. At the end, they learn that it's a Parahuman version of an escape room (the minotaur wouldn't have harmed them). But Fred points out that it's a terrible idea for a business because of the site's remote location and lack of any other businesses or facilities nearby. He does suggest an alternative: a corporate team-building retreat for Parahuman businesses. Those are willing to go long distances for team-building exercises.
  • Meaningful Name: The leader of the therians in Fred's town is a werelion named Richard, who is as brave as he is strong and kind.
  • Necromancer: In the second story of the first book, Krystal takes Fred to a LARP session in a park. Since his character is a vampire like him, he ends up in a group of "vampires". Their leader decides to perform a sneak attack on the Emperor (the organizer of the session). However, the Emperor tricks them and reveals that he's a necromancer. He then reads a spell from a book to "freeze" them in place. To his horror, Fred realizes that he is actually frozen in place and that the necromancer is the real deal, having the power to control the undead. After the necromancer's defeat, Fred is surprised to learn that he won't be killed or arrested. Actually, his offense is "practicing magic without a license", which is a misdemeanor at best. So he'll be trained to use magic responsibly and then let go. Fred's sire Quinn also reveals that he used to dabble in necromancy, when he was alive.
  • No-Sell: In book 4, Quinn tries to use an amplifier artifact to exert the natural vampire sire's mind control on Fred. It fails. Fred speculates it has something to do with Gideon temporarily using his body as an avatar, which has also made Fred immune to silver.
  • Old, New, Borrowed and Blue: The overarching plot to Undeading Bells is Fred and Krystal planning their wedding together. Accordingly, the first four section titles are "Someplace Old", "Someone New", "A Partner Borrowed", and "A Place of Blue". note 
  • Our Demons Are Different: There are different kinds of hellish creatures. The lower-ranking demons are able to interbreed with humans. The higher-ranking devils are really bad news. Only two recorded cases of a devil appearing in the world have been recorded, and the event is always accompanied by untold destruction. Capturing a devil requires a powerful mage and a Virgin Sacrifice. The (female) virgin in question is used to trap the devil in her body through a ritual. The cursed girl then becomes virtually immortal. If she is killed, then the devil inside her comes to the surface, deals with whatever danger is present, and revives her body. Apparently, the girl doesn't age either and even has a slightly higher than normal metabolism, meaning she always stays slim no matter how much food she eats. The only way to be rid of the curse is to have a daughter. Upon the daughter's maturity, the curse/devil is transferred to her, and the mother becomes mortal again. Krystal reveals that she once got into a bad car accident and was badly hurt. That was when she discovered her curse. The agency people found her and explained what she was before offering her a job, as her "get out of death free card" means she's one of their best field agents.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons are some of the most powerful supernatural creatures in the world (though not the most powerful as Fred learns in book 6, as even Gideon would have trouble dealing with Sheriff Leeroy or the Director of the Agency). There aren't that many left, and the three that live in the US split it among themselves. Gideon is the so-called "King of the West", as he is in charge of all Parahumans living on the West Coast. Since all dragons are shapeshifters, they tend to spend much of their time in human form. They are also able to interbreed with humans, and their Half-Human Hybrid descendants secretly rule Las Vegas.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: In book 6, Fred gets a new bodyguard in the form of a Gargoyle named Gregor of the Slate Claw Clan. Gregor is big, tough, and all-business. The only reason he protects Fred is because Gideon, whom all the Slate Claw revere, has asked him to. Gargoyles are incredibly strong and difficult to hurt or kill. They have wings but Gregor has yet to take flight.
  • Our Pixies Are Different: Pixies are summer Fey and normally live in the Fey dimension. Typically tiny, they can appear human-sized but generally revert to their normal appearance to cast magic. Despite their small size, they are quick and hard workers. In book 6, Fred hires Al, who turns out to be a pixie, as a new assistant. Unlike her more traditionally-minded brethren, she wants to start her own business and tells Fred she wants to learn everything she can about running a small business from him. She is also the first non-undead employee of Fletcher Accounting.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Fred has most of the strength and weaknesses attributed to vampires in the folklore and in movies. He can't handle sunlight, silver gives him a bad rash, and a wooden stake to the heart will turn him into ash. He needs blood, although one "meal" per several days is usually enough. He can eat normal food, even though it provides him no nourishment. He doesn't need to breathe, but lifelong habits are hard to break. Later, though, Fred finds out why vampires are considered very dangerous and why most Parahumans distrust them. Apparently, vampires feed not only on humans but on Parahumans as well. Feeding on Parahumans temporarily imbues vampires with new powers, such as increased strength, speed, agility, Voluntary Shapeshifting, etc. This explains the different kinds of vampires in various cultures across the world: the vampires are all the same, they just got different powers by feeding on different Parahumans. It's also revealed that a vampire sire typically has at least some psychic control over his or her progeny, unless the progeny in question is incredibly strong-willed. Surprisingly, Fred is one of the latter. Turning a human into a vampire requires that the human be on the brink of death. A vampire can help the human along by drinking most of his blood. Just before death, the vampire then feeds the human his own blood. However, typical odds of a successful turning are between 1 in 10 and 1 in 50. No one knows why the rate is so low, as no studies have yielded any conclusive results. The oldest vampires speculate that whatever magic animates vampires was intentionally designed that way to keep their numbers manageable. By the agreement between the Agency and the Blood Council, a vampire is allowed no more than 2 turning attempts per year. In book 6, Deborah manipulates Fred into turning a terminally ill woman. Despite the odds, the turning is successful. Fred then has to perform an Emergency Transformation on Asha, when she is mortally wounded by a car bomb set up by Quinn. The second attempt is also successful, making Fred potentially able to turn every human he tries (this is likely due to Fred being possessed by Gideon at one point, which has also given Fred silver immunity). When the Blood Council tries to push through a measure that allows them to reallocate turning attempts from one vampire to another, clearly intending to turn Fred into a vampire-turning machine, the Director of the Agency flat-out denies their obvious attempt at avoiding the treaty rule with no chance for an appeal.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Fred faces off against a pack of werewolves during his high school reunion. Not much is known about their abilities and weaknesses. There are also other kinds of shapeshifters. Bubba is a weresteed, although he is then forces to reveal that his animal form is actually a pony. A big pony, but still, not quite a horse. Fred later meets the so-called "Were-Mayor", who appears to be the ruler of all shapeshifters in the area. The guy, Richard, is physically imposing and made of solid muscle. Fred personally described him as a football recruiter's dream. He turns into a huge lion.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Zombies are animated by magic and are usually summoned by a necromancer to work for him or her. In Albert's case, after his death from Erotic Asphyxiation, his best friend was distraught. Then he found a black book in his late grandmother's things and discovered that he had a latent magical talent. He then used a spell from the book to bring Albert back as a zombie. In many ways, Albert is as timid as Fred. After the necromancer's detainment, Albert stands the risk of permanent death, as the magic that animates him is only active for as long as he works for someone. So Fred starts using Albert to do the menial work for his accounting firm, and Albert moves in with him. Krystal later admits that Albert is extremely rare in that few necromancers actually care about their creations, the way Neil cares about Albert. Later on, Albert becomes the first zombie in history to become the wielder of a Weapon of Destiny.
  • Out of Focus: As the cast of characters steadily grows, some of the characters who played very prominent roles in earlier books get very little attention in later books. Perhaps most obviously Albert and Neil, who thanks to being busy training with Arch, aren't the major characters they (particularly Albert) once were. Bubba too gets notably less prominent as the series goes on, but he's still around even if he doesn't get as much attention.
  • Papa Wolf: Richard will do anything to protect his little girl. Being a huge werelion helps. Then again, he doesn't actually have to do much, as his daughter is also under the personal protection of Gideon, who has no qualms about showing anyone who hurts her the error of his ways, usually permanently.
  • Power Nullifier:
    • Those with magic powers, who are under probation, have to wear a special black collar that prevents them from using magic except in the vicinity of their mentor, who is wearing a matching bracelet that acts as a "key" for the collar. It's generally assumed that the mentor is powerful and/or experienced enough to be able to handle an unruly mage.
    • Dragons are able to cast runes that severely deplete the magical potential of any Parahuman in the area, effectively making them almost human. Fred ends up being immune thanks to Gideon feeding him drop of his blood earlier.
  • Power Parasite: Vampires can temporarily gain new powers by drinking the blood of Parahumans. In fact, the main reasons the others are afraid of them is because they're better at it than the original owners.
  • Pun-Based Creature: In Undeading Bells, when Fred and Krystal need a boost to make it to their wedding in time, Amy whips up a potion to help them out. Poured into their truck's gas tank, the potion turns the truck into a massive, drooling, hairy metal beast with increased strength and speed — a monster truck to carry them to their destination.
  • Really 700 Years Old: In Richard's home, Fred meets a seven-year-old kid named Gideon, who looks at him like an elephant looks at a gnat. Fred realizes that this "kid" is to a vampire what a vampire is to a normal person. Later, Richard explains that Gideon is a millennia-old dragon, one of the three dragons, who fought the British during the American Revolution. He has the unofficial title of "King of the West", being the most powerful magical being on the West Coast. Nothing major gets done in the area without his approval. For some reason, though, he prefers to spend most of his time in the form of a seven-year-old. See Arranged Marriage for the reason.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Richard, the leader of the therians in Fred's town. After Fred gets his CPPA (Certified Public Parahuman Accountant) license, Richard becomes his first client. Fred ends up getting him a huge tax refund.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: In the fourth book, Arch implies that this is the only way to kill him and tells Fred to run if that happens. It turns out that's not entirely true. He still survives after that, but it takes him out of action for about ten seconds, which can often mean the difference between life and death for others.
  • Retcon: In the first book Fred says that silver doesn't hurt him, it just gives him a bad rash. In later books, silver does explicitly hurt to touch.
  • Schmuck Bait: In book 8, when Quinn threatens the lives of Fred's students, several students offer Fred their blood in order to give him at least a small chance to hold Quinn off. Pieris explains that the blood of a Fey royal is extremely potent but comes with a downside of rendering the vampire who's drunk it impotent for a lengthy period after the effects expire (and they expire far quicker than from any other Parahuman blood). Nevertheless, he freezes a ball of his own blood for Fred to use if he deems is necessary. During the fight, Fred is able to hold his own for a short while, but he quickly realizes that there's something odd about the way Pieris gave him the blood. He gambles that it's a trick and makes a show of trying to gulp the blood ball down, forcing Quinn to grab his hand and do it himself without first looking deeper into the nature of the blood. A few seconds later, Quinn grabs his chest and feels something wrong. After he runs away, Krystal explains that the blood ball contained magic tailored to purge Quinn's system of all the Fey blood he's been consuming and to linger in his body and destroy any further Fey blood he ingests in the future. He will no longer be as strong as he was.
  • Secret-Keeper: Fred's former coworker Asha becomes this after learning about the Parahuman world. She eventually gets curious and decides to become a fully-certified Parahuman attorney.
  • Secret Test of Character: Krystal's colleague June puts Fred through one in the second book in order to figure out what sort of a man he is. Krystal isn't happy about it, but she still allows June to proceed, even after figuring it out.
  • Sexy Mentor: Amy is a young but powerful mage with a specialty in alchemy. Her new protege is Albert's best friend and aspiring necromancer. In short order, Amy's apprentice becomes smitten with her, both for her skill and her beauty, although it's obvious the feeling is one-sided.
  • The Sheriff: There are three towns in the US, where Parahumans live openly. The towns are extremely difficult to stumble onto and are wiped from all satellite images. Krystal takes Fred to the one she spent a few years in during her training. The town is run by a very powerful guy known as Sheriff Leeroy, who also acts as the town's mayor. Leeroy turns out to be some kind of mostly-magical creature, making his kind one of the most powerful Parahuman beings in the world. Even dragons like Gideon are considered to be in Leeroy's league, not the other way around. Leeroy's sister is the Director of the Agency.
  • Shout-Out: To Hayes's own Spells, Swords, & Stealth, as Fred reveals to his former boss that the laws of the parahumans are Hidden in Plain Sight in the gamebooks of SS&S, which are so boring (as legalese should be) that no Muggle bothers to read them. However, unlike the actual series, the game here more closely mirrors the Parahuman world (i.e. an Urban Fantasy).
  • Snake People: Serpentines are humans, who have evolved from snakes. According to Gideon, a mage accidentally brought over an entire city of Serpentines from a parallel world. While the city eventually went back, some of the Serpentines stayed behind, and their descendants scheme to bring more of their kind into this world in order to take it over. As expected, Snake Talk is involved.
  • Super-Strength: Being a vampire, Fred is frequently the strongest person on the scene, even if other supernatural creatures are present. However, he utterly detests fighting and does his best to avoid it. Also, as pointed out by Bubba, becoming a vampire merely enhances the person's existing strength. Being an overweight wimp, Fred's strength isn't that impressive compared to a vampire who used to be an athlete in life.
  • Test of Pain: In Bloody Acquisitions, Fred engages in a duel with a vampire from another clan. Because silver is painful and debilitating to vampires, they both have to hold onto silver swords for as long as possible without letting go or fainting from the pain. Unfortunately for the other vampire, Fred is immune to taking damage from silver.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • By book 5, Albert and Neil have become much better at fighting and thinking tactically thanks to Arch's training. Albert has grown much more proficient with the Sword of the Unlikely Hero (at one point slicing a car cleanly in half), and Neil frequently charges up amulets for him to use (zombies can't cast magic on their own). Neil's role is more to support Albert, but he's a strong combatant in his own right, being a prodigy necromancer and one of Amy's best students.
    • Even Fred gets better under Deborah's influence, who explains to him her philosophy on mercy. Basically, Fred is too weak to be merciful. Only the strong are powerful enough to be able to show mercy. Fred takes it to heart and is no longer as reluctant to get stronger. He also starts planning ahead, even taking Deborah by surprise.
    • In book 7, Asha is able to single-handedly fight off a deadly monster created by Quinn, presumably having been trained by Deborah.
  • Unlikely Hero: Albert, after accidentally drawing the Sword of the Unlikely Hero, one of the many weapons of destiny in the possession of the agency. Every once in a while, they take the weapons out of storage in order for them to find their particular Chosen One. A zombie drawing the Sword is unprecedented, and Krystal's mentor Arch puts Albert through a deadly training course in order to see if a zombie wielding a weapon of destiny has any magical side effects.
  • Unwanted Rescue: After Fred's sire Quinn kidnaps Krystal in order to turn Fred into the monster progenitor Quinn desires, Fred and his friends hatch a plan to rescue her that seems to go off perfectly. However, Krystal is angry that Fred ignored her telling him not to come for her, pointing out that an agent like her can handle herself. Then Quinn seemingly rips her throat out as she's speaking, only for Krystal to reveal her curse - she's got a devil inside her, who won't allow her to die.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Fred is the quiet guy, preferring to wear sweater vests, not to make waves, and is content to spend most of his time doing someone else's taxes (ignoring the fact that he's a vampire, who could tear someone's throat out if he wanted to, not that he ever would). Krystal loves nothing more than getting into trouble. Naturally, they make a perfect couple.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: The whole point of the series is to avert this trope.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Fred doesn't drink fresh human blood. Having never liked violence, this trait hasn't changed even after he became a vampire. As such, he has made a deal with a hospital administrator (whom he helped cook the books once) to buy donor blood from the hospital's stores.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: All "weres" (called therians) are capable of shifting into their animal form or into a part-human form, which allows them to walk upright, retain their opposable thumbs, and speak. Dragons are capable of taking on a human appearance. Additionally, vampires, who feed on therians may temporarily gain this ability as well, hence the stories of vampires turning into bats or smoke.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Fey are immune to silver (which hurts every other Parahuman), but they, in turn, can be seriously hurt by iron, which is pretty abundant in our world. Fortunately for them, they live in another world and rarely venture into ours. All crossover points are guarded by the Agency, and Fey guards make sure that no iron makes it into their world. Fred and Lilian manage to smuggle a number of iron daggers in their guts, knowing that an undead body would naturally shield anything inside it from detection. Still, Fred has Amy bring along an iron bracelet, knowing it would trip the alarm and explain the residual "smell" of iron on them.
  • Weird Historical War: According to Krystal, The American Revolution was largely driven by the desire for supernatural beings to start fresh in the New World. They signed a contract with the Founding Fathers and helped fight off the British. When asked, Krystal scoffs at the idea that the French made a significant impact on the revolution. She also mentions that, due to the wording of the contract, all American supernatural creatures were forced to fight on the side of the North during the The American Civil War.
  • Weirdness Censor: Normal humans are very good at ignoring the Parahuman world. When that fails, there are the good old-fashioned methods: bribes and threats.
  • Wham Episode:
    • In the sixth book, Undeading Bells, Quinn plants a silver-infused car bomb in Fred's car as a "wedding present." It almost kills Asha — who has been a recurring supporting character for much of the series — and Fred is forced to turn her. Thanks to a combination of the silver in the bomb, a vial of Sheriff Leeroy's blood and Fred's unique abilities, ends up as a vampire who not only shares his immunity to silver but has silver-infused claws and fangs. Both the Blood Council and the Agency have a renew interest in Fred and his clan after this.
    • The opening of the seventh book, Out of House and Home, severely shakes up the status quo as Quinn, upset that his "wedding present" didn't kill anyone, uses magical attacks to burn down Charlotte Manor. Luckily, Charlotte's spirit is rescued thanks to the "travel model" Amy built for her — but the actual house is gone, leaving the House of Fred homeless. At the end of the book, Gideon purchases Fred's old apartment building and has Charlotte's essence installed there, giving the building to the House of Fred. With the enchantments woven by the Clover twins, Charlotte Arms is as safe a homebase as can be, and an internal garage means that no one can plant a car bomb as long as the car is inside.
  • Wife Husbandry: Looks like it's being played straight for several books, but then ultimately subverted. Gideon, who is an ancient dragon, is betrothed to Sally and pretends to be her slightly-older playmate. It is unclear how much Sally knows about this arrangement or what she thinks of it, although she'll still be able to say no if she so chooses. In book 7, Fred learns that Sally is an extremely rare therian who can turn into a dragon. Gideon is her protector until she is of age to become a new mother of dragons, at which point every single dragon will do their very best to keep her safe, since it's the only way their numbers can increase now. He's not actually grooming her for marriage, he's training her to resist manipulation and coercion so that she can make an informed choice of who and when she'll choose.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: After Albert's death, his friend became distraught. Eventually, he discovered that he had latent magical abilities and learned to cast necromancy spells from his grandmother's spell book. He used the book to bring Albert back as a zombie. However, Albert's death and his newfound power made him think himself as someone above mere mortals. He organizes a LARP session for the purpose of performing a Human Sacrifice ritual, which will drain the souls of his victims and imbue him with even more power. Fred and Krystal manages to stop him.
  • Wizarding School: Trestlevend University is the only openly Parahuman school ran by Headmaster Sequoin, who is considered to be pretty powerful in the Parahuman world. While the student body is relatively small for a university, the campus is fairly large to accommodate the various types of Parahumans attending. In Posthumous Education, Hellebore calls in a favor and asks that Fred take a temporary teaching job at Trestlevend. The subject he's teaching is Basics of Human Business, which is an unpopular subject among the Parahumans, who generally view human matters with disdain. Only six students sign up for the class, and one of them is only doing it because he's forced to. Despite this, Fred manages to convince his students that knowing the basics of business is just as important for Parahumans as it is for humans. The Trestlevend campus is also one of the extremely few places where vampires can be out in the sunlight without being harmed (the other being the fey realm).