Tag Archives: Vampires

Strange Practice

21 Aug

In “Strange Practice” by Vivian Shaw we meet Dr Greta Helsing, doctor to the supernatural community of London.

Someone has revived an ancient cult that murders supernatural creatures, but now, as well as vampires, they are also turning their attention to anyone they consider evil.

They attack Sir Francis Varney who managed to get to the safety of the home of Lord Ruthven, who immediately calls upon Dr Greta Helsing for aid. From this point, it becames a race to identify and stop the cult before London is destroyed.

Yup, that’s Varney the Vampire of the penny dreadfuls, and Dr John Polidori’s infamous Lord Ruthven. Both are actually rather sweet.

This is a fantastic book. Well plotted and extremely well written. Vivian Shaw has a turn of phrase that is delightful. Her description of vampires as sanguivores is delicious.

There are lots of delightful moments. The notorious case of the Vampire of Croglin Low Hall even gets a mention.

An excellent addition to the range of urban/dark fantasy genre.

Highly recommended.

Anno Dracula

8 Dec
Queen Victoria has been persuaded out of widowhood by Dracula who is now the Prince Consort and Lord Protector of England.

Someone is carving up young new-born vampire whores in Whitechapel. They call him Silver Knife. The Diogenes Club instructs Charles Beauregard to investigate. He is assisted by a French vampire elder named Genevieve who works at a mission in Whitechapel.

It becomes obvious that these are no simple killings. We, the reader, learn early who the killer is, but Charles and Genevieve do not until the end.

A word about this book. Brilliant.

Kim Newman writes an enchanting and engaging story, and cheekily name checks as many real and fictional people as he can. I had a merry old time name spotting as I went. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but if you are familiar with Victorian/Edwardian writers and their creations you will love this book so much.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the other three Anno Dracula novels.

The Opposite of Life

17 Jun

“The Opposite of Life” is a fantastic dark urban fantasy/horror novel from talented author Narrelle M. Harris.

Lissa Martin is an intelligent, sassy librarian living in Melbourne, Australia.  After a break up with her boyfriend, her friend Evie takes her out clubbing.  Lissa finds two dead women in the toilets, the room awash with their blood.  Her nightmare is only just beginning, as it become apparent that there are vampires in Melbourne, and the body count is rising.

The main character of Lissa is sharp tongued, quirky, and genuinely likeable.  The other characters are well rounded and believable.  Lissa’s sister Kate is definitely worth a mention.  She’s the opposite of Lissa in so many ways, but it’s also easy to spot that they are sisters.

The vampires Narrelle has created are not sparkly Twilightesque annoyances.  These guys mean business and it’s a distinctly unpleasant business at that.

“The Opposite of Life” is loaded with dark humour, but, has moments of genuine horror that leave you wavering between deeply unsettled and totally creeped out.

No longer available new in paperback, “The Opposite of Life” is still available for Kindle via Amazon.

I can’t recommend the book highly enough.

Dracula’s Guest

2 Dec

This book is a fantastic sampler of Victorian vampire fiction, plus a few non-fiction accounts, including the famous Vampire of Croglin Grange. I remember reading about that in a book of horror stories when I was a child. Weird thing to include in a kid’s book, but then, I was a fairly weird kid.

Edited by Michael Sims, the book has a great balance of stories.

This book includes some true classics, including John Polidori’s “The Vampire” and the first chapter of the notorious penny dreadful serial “Varney the Vampire”. This latter is memorable for it’s appallingly florid metaphors – “the hailstones sounded like the patter of millions of fairy feet.” But it’s enough that I really wish I could find all 109 chapters of its appealing awfulness.

Anyone looking for Twilight-style vampires, just don’t bother. The stories in this anthology date from a period when vampire’s were genuinely terrifying.

I would recommend “Dracula’s Guest” to anyone who enjoyed good vampire fiction or Victorian stories in general.

Bite Me: Sherlock and Vampire fiction.

31 Jul

I’ve been reading a lot of “Sherlock” fan fiction recently.  I’ve been focusing on AU material this week.  There are some really good alternate universes out there, but I do wonder about the need to write “Sherlock” vampire fiction that seems to dominate the AU area.

On the surface I can see it – Sherlock is a creature of the dark after all.  It’s just that I don’t really see the attraction of vampire fiction as reading material of choice.

Or rather, I don’t see the attraction of erotic vampire fiction.  It puzzles me and worries me on several levels.  Firstly the vampire – why pray tell does anyone want to have sex with their dinner?  It’s like a particularly dark version of “American Pie”!  Then there is the dinner, otherwise known as the victim, prey, whatever.  The world of erotic vampire fiction is filled with necrophiliacs getting off on having their neck (and other parts) bitten by an animated corpse!

Whilst the idea of a good looking man nibbling on my neck is rather attractive, I would much prefer him to be drawing oxygen through his lungs on a regular basis.

And please don’t get me started on the vampires-who-sparkle crap.  Not very useful for drawing prey to you, I would have thought.  Unless your chosen prey is a mad, crazy crafter with a paraphilia for glitter!

There has only ever been one writer of vampire fiction whose work I have really enjoyed.  That was the late R. Chetwynd-Hayes.  He had the ability to turn ordinary things into objects of terror.  His vampire fiction was truly terrifying.  Even years later I still remember the horror of the woman being drawn onto a parallel plane of existence by a powerful vampire, whilst her friend was helpless to assist her and they could only communicate through letters left in a pigeon hole at a hotel, as they both slowly went mad from the fear. 

Like everyone else I read Anne Rice’s series.  I refuse to go near Twilight, not being prepubescent, I don’t see it’s attraction.

I will continue my exploration of Sherlock AU fan fiction, but I will be steering clear of the vampire worlds.  I’ve found a faerie one that was good, and one involving the Greek gods.  But Sherlock sucking on John’s neck is definitely not for me.  At least, not a dead Sherlock…

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