Many TV shows are inspired by books; Vampire Diaries, Bones, Gossip Girl. But Moonlight might be the only TV show that was inspired by a novel that wasn’t published until after the show was canceled.
In 2005, Trevor O. Munson penned “Angel of Vengeance” which he says was the result of rereading Dracula then a Raymond Chandler novel in close succession. What he ended up with was a noir-style tale about a modern vampire who works as a private eye. Mick Angel sleeps in a fridge, champions the innocent and travels around Los Angeles in a vintage car. He also kills people. Only people who deserve killing, by his estimation, but he does it brutally and follows the act by siphoning off their blood to fill his fridge (not the one he sleeps in) at home. Mick Angel is no Mick St. John.
Burned by the publishing biz in the past, Munson opted to then turn his novel into a script which he pitched to CBS. CBS liked the idea — with changes — and they hooked him up with a partner, Ron Koslow, to get it done. There were two big problems with the story as it stood. It was too dark and CBS wanted romance. Koslow was the creator of Beauty and the Beast, so he knew all about combining romance and horror. Together, they reshaped the story into Moonlight.
Like the Mick in the book, Moonlight’s Mick (Alex O’Loughlin) was a vampire looking for redemption and he found it by helping innocent people with their criminal problems. Unlike the Mick of the book, he didn’t kill people, not intentionally and he didn’t mainline blood like an addict. Where Moonlight had more in common with a modern paranormal romance novel, “Angel of Vengeance” is very much an old school hard-boiled detective novel and that might be hard for fans of the series to digest.
In the book, Mick is hired to help a burlesque dancer who wants him to find her missing sister. The trail for the girl leads Mick to some pretty sleazy places to meet with some very unsavory characters including several levels of drug dealers and a wormy Hollywood hot shot named Vin Prince. Sandwiched in between all of that is the backstory of how Mick became a vampire thanks to his lady love, Coraline. Remnants of the TV series can be found in the Coraline storyline, but again it’s darker and more brutal than what was seen on screen.
“Angel of Vengeance” is a fast read that’s loaded with intentionally cliche lines that could have come right out of a Sam Spade novel. If it wasn’t for the occasional mention of a cell phone or the inability to smoke inside a Hollywood bar, you might think the book was a period piece. But Mick’s been around since the 1930’s, so maybe it’s natural that he calls a woman “doll” or refers to lips as being “soft and cold and red as refrigerated cherry gelatin.”
If you’re a fan of the series, read the book for completeness sake, but don’t go in to it expecting a typical tie-in. I’d say “Angel of Vengeance” is much more suited to fans of the genre; those who can truly appreciate the tone of the book. I’m a Raymond Chandler fan, so I was quite amused by the stylistic word play, but I’ll admit it was hard to see my favorite TV hero in such a low and dark place.
Angel of Vengeance: The Novel that Inspired the TV Show Moonlight is brand new from Titan Books and you can buy it at Amazon.com.