Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. They Thirst by Robert McCammon. Nightblood by T. Chris Martindale. Light at the End by John Skipp and Craig Spector. Of Saints and Shadows by Christopher Golden. Five classic books with one thing in common – vampires!
I would suspect that if you’re fan of the bloodsucking undead, especially the kind that are far more sinister than sparkly, you’ve probably already read the books I just mentioned. If not, go rectify that problem immediately; a horror library is not complete without those five volumes.
Of course, five is never enough and for today’s installment of Horrifying Hallowe’en Reads, we’re going to add two more books to the list, books in which vampires play a starring role.
Those stories you hear? The ones about things that only come out at night? Things that feed on blood, feed on us? Got news for you: they’re true. Only it’s not like the movies or old man Stoker’s storybook. It’s worse. Especially if you happen to be one of them. Just ask Joe Pitt.
There’s a shambler on the loose. Some fool who got himself infected with a flesh-eating bacteria is lurching around, trying to munch on folks’ brains. Joe hates shamblers, but he’s still the one who has to deal with them. That’s just the kind of life he has. Except afterlife might be better word.
From the Battery to the Bronx, and from river to river, Manhattan is crawling with Vampyres. Joe is one of them, and he’s not happy about it. Yeah, he gets to be stronger and faster than you, and he’s tough as nails and hard to kill. But spending his nights trying to score a pint of blood to feed the Vyrus that’s eating at him isn’t his idea of a good time. And Joe doesn’t make it any easier on himself. Going his own way, refusing to ally with the Clans that run the undead underside of Manhattan–it ain’t easy. It’s worse once he gets mixed up with the Coalition–the city’s most powerful Clan–and finds himself searching for a poor little rich girl who’s gone missing in Alphabet City.
Now the Coalition and the girl’s high-society parents are breathing down his neck, anarchist Vampyres are pushing him around, and a crazy Vampyre cult is stalking him. No time to complain, though. Got to find that girl and kill that shambler before the whip comes down . . . and before the sun comes up.
Take a hard-boiled detective story and pair it with a horror novel featuring vampires and you’ve got the formula for Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt series. Instead of drowning his sorrows in booze, however, our hero drowns them in fresh blood to satisfy the hunger of the Vyrus that has turned him into one of the undead.
Gory, bloody, gruesome – definitely not for the faint of heart – but man does it satisfy! Even better there are four other volumes in the series to sink your teeth into once you finish ALREADY DEAD.
Our second selection for today also features a vampire with a penchant for solving problems, but there is a world of difference between Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt and David Niall Wilson, Donovan DeChance, the hero of VINTAGE SOUL.
Donovan DeChance is a collector of ancient manuscripts and books, a practicing mage, and a private investigator. When, despite the finest in natural and supernatural security, a sexy and well-loved, three hundred year old lady vampire is kidnapped right out from under her lover’s nose, Donovan is called in to investigate.
He soon finds that there is much more to the case than a simple abduction when an unknown intruder invades his home and steals a very rare, very ancient manuscript. There will be no ransom for the kidnap victim, and if Donovan doesn’t prevent an ancient, forbidden ritual from reaching its culmination, far more than a single vampire’s undead existence will be at stake.
Calling on his lover and partner, Amethyst, and an odd assortment of contacts, informants, and connections, Donovan follows the ghostly trail of the kidnapper through a winding maze of intrigue-always a step behind-through magical battles, murders, and confrontations with a rogue band of young vampires intent on beating Donovan at his own game.
I discovered Wilson’s writing through his fabulous novel DEEP BLUE, about a blues musician who takes the weight, and sometimes the sin, of the world on his shoulders. To this day I consider it one of the finer works of modern horror I’ve ever read. (It doesn’t hurt that I love the blues, either.)
One of Wilson’s many talents is his world-building and for the Donovan DeChance series he creates the California city of San Valencez. Not satisfied with that, however, he then takes us deep into its heart, to the city that exists inside the city itself, the one most of San Valencez’s residents don’t know about, where things darker than night watch and wait and hunger. His rich descriptions and well-turned action scenes move the story along briskly as DeChance and his companions race against time to save the kidnap victim.
A former president of the Horror Writers Association and a multiple winner of the Bram Stoker Award, Wilson’s writing always satisfies and this new series is no exception. Grab your copy today and start your journey into a strange new world!
Joseph Nassise is the author of more than twenty novels, including the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles series, the Great Undead War series, and the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy. He is a former president of the Horror Writers Association, the world’s largest organization of professional horror writers, and a multiple Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award nominee.
You can find him online at Shades of Reality.