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I'm looking for a book I read some time in the late 90s-early 00s, translated into Hungarian, but I'm all right with the English title. A sci-fi title set in the mid-future with space flight. The main character is a bounty hunter/assassin, member of a secret order who have advanced tech at their disposal, and whose training concludes with being spaced for 3-4 seconds. He keeps his arsenal in a secret compartment in his apartment.

He's tasked with investigating a disappearance/murder (maybe), and he ends up uncovering a pseudo-vampire ring. The investigation culminates with him hunting a vampire on a docked spaceship, with a modified pistol that launches miniature wooden stakes. The vampire captures him, but instead of killing him, she tells him about her species, who's an ancient, immortal race of bioweapons, and who's trying to make amends for their atrocities by killing other evildoers, and that she hired him to find out if they truly cannot be killed. The story ends with the vampires departing in peace.

A few points I managed to remember:

  • The main character is a detective/private eye as a cover for his life. The word they used in translation ("törvényszolga") could be back-translated as bailiff, and there are allusions to him having more funds at his disposal than his job should allow.
  • There is one scene where he gets into an underground fight to obtain information, is perplexed that the gang sends out some scrawny guy against him, who he knocks out instantly, and is then absolutely pounded by the actual fighter, after the scrawny person turned out to be the ref.
  • The vampires can apparently convert others into vampires too, including the direct superior of the main character at the police, who afterwards has the blinds in his office drawn.
  • The hunt at the end happens on a docked ship, with people just walking by outside. It's powered down, and the only light inside is the emergency lighting strips along the corridors. The final showdown happens on the bridge, where the lady who hired him reveals herself to be the leader of the vampires.
  • The advanced tech the MC's order has access to includes advanced body armor and energy weapons, but he doesn't use the energy weapons against the aliens, choosing a spring-loaded pistol to shoot sharpened mini-stakes.
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    Also posted to reddit.com/r/whatsthatbook/comments/o8ayvd/…
    – FuzzyBoots
    Aug 24, 2021 at 16:12
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    Hi and welcome to the site! This is a really great first question. Even so, please feel free to checkout the help center and take the tour. You should also have enough reputation to join the chat !
    – AncientSwordRage
    Aug 24, 2021 at 16:19
  • Assuming this is indeed the same fellow (likely given identical wording), Blindsight has been ruled out.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Aug 24, 2021 at 16:38
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    Definitely not Blindsight. It happens in space and has "vampires", but the plot is nowhere close. Even if Watts has written other books in the same universe, the described plot does not seem like his style at all.
    – Harabeck
    Aug 24, 2021 at 16:48
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    @FreeMan I waited as long as I could before I was like this needs a bounty. I tried looking for it myself a few times and couldn't find much relevance. Mostly just romance vampire novels. Maybe since the reader read it translated it may not even be english, but translated from like German or French.
    – Villan
    Aug 31, 2021 at 14:38

1 Answer 1

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Is it possibly this. A lot of the points line up.

The Long Orbit by Mick Farren

The Long Orbit by Mick Farren book cover

The stuff that dreams are made of.

Marlowe lived a life of fantasy while out in the real world a robot proxy contributed to the economy on his behalf. Marlowe's image--down to the trench coat and the dingy "office" where he lived with his cat, Greenstreet. But he had never had a real case until a leggy looker dressed to the nines--Forties style--asked him to find her missing sister.

Suddenly he was on the run for his life, a pawn in a high stakes game for the control of off-Earth development. All Marlowe wanted was to return to his own comfortable world of make-believe. But first he would have to take good hard look at reality--for if couldn't find a way for both sides to win, everyone would lose...

According to a user on reddit there are vampires in it.

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    The cover art makes it look like there are vampires in it... :)
    – DavidW
    Sep 14, 2021 at 13:48
  • Oh ya, I suppose that is a vampire.
    – Villan
    Sep 14, 2021 at 13:48
  • I'll try to find this on LibGen or something to see the text. While a lot of the points do line up, I distinctly remember that in my long-lost book, the protagonist wasn't a washout or similar, but part of an elite order of bounty hunters/headhunters, and he actually had access to weapons and armor in his apartment that was beyond what Earth military had. I'll hold off on accepting this for a bit, until I can find the time to confirm/deny a match, okay? Sep 15, 2021 at 11:58
  • He mentions his one and only gun he pulls from a case under his bed, It's a Smith and Wesson Reaper, a pistol barrel on top and a 7 gauge shotgun barrel on the bottom.
    – Villan
    Sep 15, 2021 at 15:30

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