As a disclaimer, I have known both authors for a number of years, and had heard about this book before it came out. I did not receive a free copy, or any consideration for posting this review, however.
For a first novel, this one was a real treat. The first thing which caught my interest was that they found a new approach to the concept of vampirism. In this novel, a “mad scientist” medical researcher figured out a new breakthrough which, for a variety of reasons, got released before testing was complete. What he created was a disease that successfully fights most other diseases, including AIDS and most forms cancer. The downside of the new disease is that it gives its victim a form of anemia, requiring regular whole-blood transfusions in order to survive. It makes the victim healthier overall, even a little stronger and a little faster than before. They don’t drink blood, just take lots of transfusions, but are they still human?
The down side of the “cure” is that the disease is unstable, and may mutate into something worse. In fact, there is a small chance that it will kill you before it cures you.
This book, and presumably its planned sequel, deal with the results of this in our society. Everything from religious cults to newscasters, the CDC, the FBI, the courts, all respond to the causes and effects of this medical situation, and not always in a good way.
There are no elements of fantasy in the novel, and only the medical technology is more advanced than current day, so I would call it near-future medical SF.
The writing has the advantage of not being overly wordy. The story is told at a brisk pace, which has the minor disadvantage that it’s easy to miss character descriptions if you’re not reading carefully. Everything is there, but it’s not repeated for the convenience of lazy reading. On the other hand, most of the characters are interesting, which helps move the story along.