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Literature / Lee Nez

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The Lee Nez series is a Vampire Detective Series by David and Aimée Thurlo, starring a Navajo vampire who works as a New Mexico state trooper.

The series has four books:

  • Second Sunrise: As if Lee's problems with a pack of skinwalkers aren't enough, he suspects the vampire who turned him during World War II is back, and he has the FBI, in the form of Special Agent Diane Lopez, breathing down his neck because of the missing plutonium said vamp is after.
  • Blood Retribution: Lee and Diane investigate a gang of gem smugglers who killed a cop. They're yet more skinwalkers. To further complicate matters Lee is being stalked by a pair of vampire assassins enraged at him for killing their leader.
  • Pale Death: Diane investigates a string of gruesome homicides in and around the town of Shiprock. They're unmistakably the work of a vampire, but she knows for a fact that Lee prefers his blood chilled in a refrigerator. They get around the question of keeping the secret by calling it a Serial Killer who thinks he's a vampire.
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  • Surrogate Evil: All-around-scumbag Newton Glover is suspected by the Albuquerque police department of kidnapping a teenage boy for a child pornography ring. Determined to nail him to the wall for good this time, they enlist the FBI, and Diane calls in Lee. They go undercover in Glover's trailer park and the case gets complicated when they learn that his neighbors once took the law into their own hands and beat him to death, only to have him come Back from the Dead.


The Lee Nez novels provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Diane. She's an FBI Special Agent so it's kind of a job requirement.
  • Avenging the Villain: The motive of the vamps targeting Lee in Blood Retribution, since he killed their leader, and his creator, in the previous book.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Downplayed. Lee can handle the light as long as he wears UV protection (sunblock and sunglasses) but it's not a death sentence if those are compromised. Averted for every other vamp.
  • Escaped from the Lab: In Pale Death Lee and Diane discover that the vampire they're hunting was living peacefully as a human, but was captured by a Government Conspiracy and experimented on. He broke out of the lab and went berserk.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: But not for the usual reasons. The vampire who turned him during World War II was a Nazi operative, and Lee's a good cop.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Lee and Diane. Lee also married once and outlived his wife.
  • Official Couple: Lee and Diane start dating in book two.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Lee calls himself a nightwalker rather than a vampire, since a Navajo medicine man was able to partially cure him after he was turned. He's not as tough as a full vampire, but he's also not so fatally weak to sunlight. More generally:
    • The Ageless: Normal vampires. Lee is Long-Lived instead, and has aged the equivalent of about five years since World War II.
    • Vegetarian Vampire: Justified. Vampires don't require human blood specifically (Lee gets cow blood from a slaughterhouse) and can eat regular food. Lee compares blood to a protein shake.
    • Weakened by the Light: In this series vampires spontaneously combust in sunlight due to a fatal weakness to UV radiation. They can get around it by heavy use of sunscreen.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Skinwalkers can shapeshift at will and are considered anathema by the Navajo. Lee protects his tribe by hunting them.
  • Sinister Southwest: The series is about dealing with monsters in New Mexico.
  • Undead Tax Exemption: Averted. At one point Lee considers that he's lasted this long because a lot of the electronic and paper trails didn't exist when he was turned. He just considers himself lucky nobody's noticed that there's been a Lee Nez in the New Mexico state police since the middle of World War II.
  • Undercover as Lovers: Lee and Diane in Surrogate Evil as part of the operation to catch Newton Glover. It helps that by this point they actually are lovers.
  • Vampire Detective Series: Lee is normally a state trooper but also does a lot of undercover work. The series uses some of the genre's typical elements straight and plays with the others.