Nov 30, 2008

Review of Deadly Harvest and Deadly Gift

Mary and her husband Brad were visiting Salem, MA, during the Halloween festivities. What better place to really get into the spirit of things. It was especially important now since not all has gone will in the recent months of their marriage. Brad had been unfaithful, but he and Mary decided that they wanted to stay together. This trip was to allow them to experience some fun with each other once again. Unfortunately All Hallows Eve turned out to be a night of true horror. While walking through an old cemetery, with many people around, Brad momentarily looses sight of Mary and cannot find her again. She has vanished. The police are called. They search everywhere. Still there is no trace. Suspicion falls on Brad, of course. He nearly goes crazy with grief. His friend and private investigator Jeremy Flynn shows up to do what he can for his former police diving partner. Arriving at the same time is Rowena Cavanaugh whom Jeremy met when they were both in New Orleans. She grew up in Salem. This is her homecoming.

Rowena and Jeremy have a strong attraction for one another and both become caught up in the case of Mary's disappearance. Even before returning to Salem Rowena began experiencing nightmares. She is running throughthe corn fields near harvest time and is fleeing for her life. Something evil is in pursuit. Then she comes upon a scarecrow with a head made from a skull with rotting flesh still clinging to it.

The suspense never stops. At one point I was so immersed in Rowena's nightmare that when my husband walked into the room I screamed. That, folks, is the sign of a thoroughly engaging story (since I don't usually react so vehemently when enters a room). This is a book that should have been mentioned in October's Scary book contest. Sadly it wasn't published until November.

I so thoroughly enjoyed the first two book in the Flynn Brothers Trilogy - see my review of Deadly Night (The Flynn Brothers Trilogy 1) - that I could hardly wait to read book three. Deadly Gift centers on Zach Flynn who has come to guard a close friend of the family. Sean O'Riley left for a trip to Ireland with his young trophy wife Amanda, a voluptuous airhead. The day after arriving in Dublin Sean becomes deathly ill and is hospitalized. Foul play is suspected. The nurse assigned to him is the stunning Irish beauty Caer Donahue. When Sean returns to his Newport RI home she travels along with him planning to stay until he fully recovers. Adding to the troubles, Eddie Ray, Sean's business partner, took out one of their charter, sailing boats and never returned. Later the boat is found empty and drifting.

What should add up to a great deal of suspense instead falls flat. None of the characters are very interesting. Caer, one of the more important characters comes across as colorless and taciturn. There are a multitude of characters besides those already mentioned: Sean's daughter Kate who naturally loathes the wife; Bridey, Sean's beloved aunt; Cal and Marni, business associates of Sean's; Caer's boss, the mysterious Michael, etc. Author Graham fails to breath much life into any of them, and the same can be said of the boring plot. This novel was a huge disappointment. I wish I could recommend it, but I can't.

Nov 29, 2008

Interview with author Lina Gardiner on Dec. 2

An interview with Lina Gardiner, author of vampire suspense novels Grave Illusions (Imajinn, 2007) and Beyond the Grave (ImaJinn, November, 2008) will be posted on Tuesday, December 2.

Ms Gardiner will standby to answer any questions or reply to any comments you might have. There will also be a contest with one lucky commenter winning a copy of each book.

November Book Contest - Still Time to Enter

There is still time to enter the November contest to win a copy of The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo. The only thing you have to do is subscribe by email to Patricia's Vampire Notes. See information in the right hand column.

Nov 25, 2008

Books From Scary Book Commnets

Recently I focused on the books of Stephen King referred to by commenters of October's scary book contest.. This post will list a selection of other stories mentioned. From time to time I will be listing more of these titles.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. CreateSpace (November 12, 2008).
From the back cover: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of the masterpieces of nineteenth-century Gothicism. While stay-ing in the Swiss Alps in 1816 with her lover Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and others, Mary, then eighteen, began to concoct the story of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and the monster he brings to life by electricity. Written in a time of great personal tragedy, it is a subversive and morbid story warning against the dehumanization of art and the corrupting influence of science. Packed with allusions and literary references, it is also one of the best thrillers ever written. Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus was an instant bestseller on publication in 1818. The prototype of the science fiction novel, it has spawned countless imitations and adaptations but retains its original power.

This Modern Library edition includes a new Introduction by Wendy Steiner, the chair of the English department at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The Scandal of Pleasure. Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in 1797 in London. She eloped to France with Shelley, whom she married in 1816. After Frankenstein, she wrote several novels, including Valperga and Falkner, and edited editions of the poetry of Shelley, who had died in 1822. Mary Shelley died in London in 1851

For a free electronic copy of Frankenstein go to Google Books

Autumn by David Moody. Infected Books, 2005.
From the publisher: In less than twenty-four hours a vicious and virulent disease destroys virtually all of the population. Billions are killed. Thousands die every second.

There are no symptoms and no warnings. Within moments of infection each victim suffers a violent and agonizing death. Only a handful of survivors remain. By the end of the first day those survivors wish they were dead.

Then the disease strikes again, and all hell breaks loose...

The classic free underground novel finally bursts into the mainstream. Cold, dark, relentless and uncomfortably plausible. A Night of the Living Dead for the 21st Century.

The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill. David R Godine, 2002.
From the publisher: What real reader does not yearn, somewhere in the recesses of his or her heart, for a really literate, first-class thriller - one that chills the body with foreboding of dark deeds to come, but warms the soul with perceptions and language at once astute and vivid? In other words, a ghost story by Jane Austen.

Austen we cannot, alas, give you, but Susan Hill's remarkable Woman In Black comes as close as the late twentieth century is likely to provide. Set on the obligatory English moor, on an isolated causeway, the story has as its hero one Arthur Kipps, an up-and-coming young solicitor who has come north to attend the funeral and settle the estate of Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. The routine formalities he anticipates give way to a tumble of events and secrets more sinister and terrifying than any nightmare: the rocking chair in the nursery of the deserted Eel Marsh House, the eerie sound of pony and trap, a child's scream in the fog, and, most dreadfully, and for Kipps most tragically, the woman in black.
The Woman In Black is both a brilliant exercise in atmosphere and controlled horror and a delicious spine-tingler - proof positive that that neglected genre, the ghost story, isn't dead after all.

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. Harper, 2008.
From the publisher: Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals . . . a used hangman's noose . . . a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is as widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, an item for sale on the Internet, a thing so terribly strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet.

I will "sell" my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder. . . .

For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn't afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts—of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed. What's one more?

But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost, no benign conversation piece. It's the real thing.

And suddenly the suit's previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door . . . seated in Jude's restored vintage Mustang . . . standing outside his window . . . staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting—with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand...

A multiple-award winner for his short fiction, author Joe Hill immediately vaults into the top echelon of dark fantasists with a blood-chilling roller-coaster ride of a novel, a masterwork brimming with relentless thrills and acid terror.

Dark Places by Linda Ladd. Pinnacle, 2007.
From the publisher: Missouri detective Claire Morgan is eager to get back to work after recuperating from injuries sustained on her last job. But the missing persons case that welcomes her home in the dead of winter soon turns more twisted and treacherous than Lake of the Ozarks' icy mountain roads...The woman's body is found suspended from a tree overlooking a local school. She is bleeding from the head, still alive - but not for long. Someone wanted Professor Simone Classon to suffer as much as possible before she died, making sure the victim had a perfect view of her colleagues and students on the campus below as she succumbed to the slow-working poison in her veins...Frigid temperatures and punishing snows only make the investigation more difficult. And then the death threats begin - unnerving incidents orchestrated to send Claire a deadly message. Now, as she edges closer to the truth, Claire risks becoming entangled in a maniac's web - and the stuff of her own worst nightmares...

Nov 22, 2008

Review of Vampire Novel Dark Harvest

Dark Harvest (Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series)
by Lynda Hilburn. Medallion Press, 2008.

As the story begins psychologist Kismit Knight is being interviewed by Carson Miller an obnoxious radio jock with a call-in show. She does her best to keep her cool while he feels her legs and makes crude remarks. After her adventures in The Vampire Shrink (Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series)
Kismit has earned a reputation as an expert on the undead and a counselor to wannabe vampires. One caller asks Why do women get turned on by the idea of having sex with vampires? Here is how Kismit answers, "Women fantasize about males who are heroic, mysterious, or non-ordinary — as well as gorgeous with bodies to die for." (There's more of course but you'll need to read the book to find out what else Dr Knight has to say on the subject.)

A few other questions follow and then comes a caller with a deep sonorous voice that Kismit immediately recognizes as vampiric. Carson falls into a stupor as does all of the listening audience. Only Kismit can hear. The voice belongs to Lyren Hallow, an ancient, powerful vampire who admits to causing mischief because after being around so long he's bored. He has decided that Kismit, lover of Deveraux another powerful vampire, will be his new focus. And it doesn't take long before it's obvious that Hallow's seduction and terrorization of Kismit is all about his desire to destroy Deveraux.

Hallow might be described as the personification of evil, the ultimate psychopath who is at the same time incredibly handsome and seductive (see cover!). Kismit finds herself horrified at the shocking murder he forces her to witness; yet within a short span of time she becomes totally mesmerized by his sexuality. Hallow has gained a certain amount of control over Kismit. Her usual inhibitions are diminished causing her to flaunt herself like a floozy and enjoy every moment of it. And this leads to hilarious, flirtatious encounters with guys best described as boy toys. It's this combination of humor and horror that distinguishes the world Hilburn has created in both Kismit Knight novels. Will there be more such stories in this series? I certainly hope so.

Michelle Forbes and True Blood

I didn't watch True Blood's episode 11 (To Love Is To Bury) until late in the week and was pleasantly surprised to see the appearance of Michelle Forbes as the character Maryann. She appeared like a guardian angel for the despondent Tara whose own mother has rejected her and decided the best place for her daughter was jail. Of course I'm certain Maryann is not really an angel, not on this show anyway.

Michelle has the habit of showing up on some of my favorite programs, and always brings something special to every role. I first saw her on Star Trek Next Generation when she played the recurring role of Ensign Ro Laren, a feisty gal who had discipline problems with the military in addition to a love/hate relationship with Commander Riker. Then from 1996-1998 she appeared as the medical examiner on Homicide Life on the Streets. More recently she played the strong-willed, sociopathic Admiral Helena Cain on Battlestar Galactica. (See photo above. Michelle Forbes is in the center.) Looking at IMBd listings I find she has had a variety of roles in popular series like Lost, Prison Break, 24, etc.

According to the few, brief items I found through Google about Michelle's role on True Blood, she will be a regular. Excellent choice Mr. Ball!

Nov 20, 2008

Twilight Movie

There's no getting around the fact that Twilight the movie opens this weekend in theaters. I enjoyed the book very much but still haven't decided if I want to see the movie. Any readers who do please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Meanwhile I'm "reprinting" the review of Stephenie Meyer's book that I posted in April.

"I have heard so much about the vampire series Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, but like too many adults I turned my nose up at this because after all it is for the YA crowd and I'm far beyond this age group. But finally I caved and picked up book 1, also named Twilight (Little, Brown 2006), and was mesmerized from the first word.

"Bella recently moved to Fork, WA, a small town where her father Charlie is the local police chief. Her last residence was Phoenix AZ with her mother. Bella wants to allow her mom more time to spend with boyfriend Phil and so decides to live with her dad even though she hates the horrid, cold, sunless weather that is ever present in this area. She always considered herself an outsider in high school and assumes the situation will remain the same in Forks, but in fact she does make a few friends and even has a couple of boys who give her intense, unwanted attention.

"The first week she notices five students sitting together at the lunch table, sitting quietly, barely interacting, and each one of exquisite appearance. Those are the Cullens, she is told. They keep to themselves. Later in the day she is surprised to find herself sitting next to Edward Cullen in Biology class. He does not speak to her and seems actively hostile. Weeks later after several interactions, some traumatic, they have come to know each other well and feel a deep kinship. It is then that Edward confesses to her why he acted so strangely in the beginning. He and his family are vampires who live among humanity, and feed themselves on animal blood, but Edward found Bella so alluring that he feared he would let his desire overcome his actions. Bella accepts this calmly. She has fallen in love. Edward feels the same, and he learns to control his bloodlust while still keeping Bella close. Even most of Edward's family accept the human Bella in their midst, but having a human in the vampire world inevitably brings dangers. Twilight's mixture of romance, gripping suspense, and deftly plotted fantasy make compelling reading for all ages not only young adults."

Below are a few sites worth checking out:

Marta Acosta's Vampire Wire has listed several reviews of Twilight.

Twilight Lexicon

Twilight Study Guide

Twilight countdown: The critics weigh in

movie soundtrack includes Iron & Wine, more

Twilight on YouTube

Nov 18, 2008

A Look at Scary Books - Stephen King

During October's Scary Book Contest readers were invited to comment on the most frightening book they have ever read. I thought it would be interesting to give information on the novels or short stories that listed. The works of author Stephen King were mentioned more often than any other writer.

Here (according to PVN readers) are his scariest stories, in alphabetical order:

Bag of Bones: 10th Anniversary Edition
Scribner; Anv edition (October 21, 2008). Originally published in 1998.
From the publisher:

Set in the Maine territory King has made mythic, Bag of Bones recounts the plight of 40-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan, who is unable to stop grieving even four years after the sudden death of his wife, Jo, and who can no longer bear to face the blank screen of his word processor.

Now his nights are plagued by vivid nightmares of the house by the lake. Despite these dreams, or perhaps because of them, Mike finally returns to Sara Laughs, the Noonans' isolated summer home.

He finds his beloved Yankee town familiar on its surface, but much changed underneath -- held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, who twists the very fabric of the community to his purpose: to take his three-year-old granddaughter away from her widowed young mother. As Mike is drawn into their struggle, as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs, now the site of ghostly visitations, ever-escalating nightmares, and the sudden recovery of his writing ability. What are the forces that have been unleashed here -- and what do they want of Mike Noonan?

Carrie. Doubleday, 1974.
From the publisher: Carrie was the odd one at school; the one whose reflexes were always off in games, whose clothes never really fit, who never got the point of a joke. And so she became the joke, the brunt of teenaged cruelties that puzzled her as much as they wounded her.

There was hardly any comfort in playing her private game, because like so many things in Carrie's life, it was sinful. Or so her mother said. Carrie could make things move--by concentrating on them, by willing them to move. Small things, like marbles, would start dancing. Or a candle would fall. A door would lock. This was her game, her power, her sin, firmly repressed like everything else about Carrie.

One act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious jokes of her classmates, offered Carrie a new look at herself the fateful night of her senior prom. But another act--of furious cruelty--forever changed things and turned her clandestine game in to a weapon of horror and destruction.

She made a lighted candle fall, and she locked the doors...

Cell: A Novel. Scribner, 2006
From the publisher: On October 1, God is in His heaven, the stock market stands at 10,140, most of the planes are on time, and Clayton Riddell, an artist from Maine, is almost bouncing up Boylston Street in Boston. He's just landed a comic book deal that might finally enable him to support his family by making art instead of teaching it. He's already picked up a small (but expensive!) gift for his long-suffering wife, and he knows just what he'll get for his boy Johnny. Why not a little treat for himself? Clay's feeling good about the future.

That changes in a hurry. The cause of the devastation is a phenomenon that will come to be known as The Pulse, and the delivery method is a cell phone. Everyone's cell phone. Clay and the few desperate survivors who join him suddenly find themselves in the pitch-black night of civilization's darkest age, surrounded by chaos, carnage, and a human horde that has been reduced to its basest nature. . .and then begins to evolve.

There's really no escaping this nightmare. But for Clay, an arrow points home to Maine, and as he and his fellow refugees make their harrowing journey north they begin to see crude signs confirming their direction: KASHWAK=NO-FO. A promise, perhaps. Or a threat . . .

There are one hundred and ninety-three million cell phones in the United States alone. Who doesn't have one? Stephen King's utterly gripping, gory, and fascinating novel doesn't just ask the question "Can you hear me now?" It answers it with a vengeance.

Christine (Signet). Viking, 1983

From the publisher: Scene: a middle-class suburb of Pittsburgh.

Time: 1978.

Cast of characters: Arnie Cunningham, a bookish and bullied high school senior; Dennis Guilder, his friend and sometimes protector; Leigh Cabot, the new girl in school, won by Arnie...but wanted by Dennis as well.

Just another lovers' triangle, you say? Not quite. There's a fourth here, the second lady, the dark lady. "Cars are girls," Leigh Cabot says, and the dark force in Stephen King's new novel is a 1958 Plymouth named Christine.

She is no ordinary car, this white-over-red two-toned survivor of a time when high-test gasoline was priced at a quarter a gallon and speedometers were calibrated all the way up to a hundred and twenty miles an hour...a time when rock and roll in all its first crude power ruled America...a time when speed was king.

Arnie Cunningham is determined to have Christine at any price, and little by little, Dennis and Leigh begin to suspect that the price of his growing obsession may be terrifyingly high, its result blackly evil. As Arnie sets feverishly to work on the seemingly hopeless job of resorting Christine, Christine begins to develop a terrible life of her own. Or is that only imagination? Dennis continues to hope so...and then people begin to die on Libertyville's dark suburban streets and roads...and the time comes when Dennis can no longer deny the horrifying truth: Christine is alive.

In Christine, Stephen King has returned to the full-fledged novel of supernatural horror for the first time since The Shining. It will keep readers up late...and will have them looking both ways as they cross the street after dark.

The Dark Half (Signet). Viking, 1989
From the publisher: For years, Thad Beaumont has been writing books under the pseudonym George Stark. When a journalist threatens to expose Beaumont's pen name, the author decides to go public first, killing off his pseudonym. Stark isn't content to be dispatched that easily, though. Beaumont's alter ego comes to life and begins to stalk those responsible for his demise. The police suspect Beaumont is responsible for these violent crimes.

Everything's Eventual : 14 Dark Tales. Scribner, 2002.
From the publisher: The first collection of stories Stephen King has published since Nightmares & Dreamscapes nine years ago, Everything's Eventual includes one O. Henry Prize winner, two other award winners, four stories published by The New Yorker, and "Riding the Bullet," King's original e-book, which attracted over half a million online readers and became the most famous short story of the decade. "Riding the Bullet," published here on paper for the first time, is the story of Alan Parker, who's hitchhiking to see his dying mother but takes the wrong ride, farther than he ever intended.

In "Lunch at the Gotham Cafe," a sparring couple's contentious lunch turns very, very bloody when the maitre d' gets out of sorts. "1408," the audio story in print for the first time, is about a successful writer whose specialty is "Ten Nights in Ten Haunted Graveyards" or "Ten Nights in Ten Haunted Houses," and though Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel doesn't kill him, he won't be writing about ghosts anymore. And in "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French," terror is deja vu at 16,000 feet.

Whether writing about encounters with the dead, the near dead, or about the mundane dreads of life, from quitting smoking to yard sales, Stephen King is at the top of his form in the fourteen dark tales assembled in Everything's Eventual. Intense, eerie, and instantly compelling, they announce the stunningly fertile imagination of perhaps the greatest storyteller of our time.

The Green Mile : The Complete Serial Novel.
From the publisher: Set in the 1930s at the Cold Mountain Penitentiary's death-row facility, The Green Mile is the riveting and tragic story of John Coffey, a giant, preternaturally gentle inmate condemned to death for the rape and murder of twin nine-year-old girls. It is a story narrated years later by Paul Edgecomb, the ward superintendent compelled to help every prisoner spend his last days peacefully and every man walk the green mile to execution with his humanity intact.

Edgecomb has sent seventy-eight inmates to their date with "old sparky," but he's never encountered one like Coffey--a man who wants to die, yet has the power to heal. And in this place of ultimate retribution, Edgecomb discovers the terrible truth about Coffey's gift, a truth that challenges his most cherished beliefs--and ours.

Originally published in 1996 in six self-contained monthly installments, The Green Mile is an astonishingly rich and complex novel that delivers over and over again. Each individual volume became a huge success when first published, and all six were on the New York Times bestseller list simultaneously. Three years later, when Frank Darabont made The Green Mile into an award-winning movie starring Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan, the book returned to the bestseller list--and stayed there for months.

It. Viking, 1986.
From the publisher: It began for the Losers on a day in June of 1958, the day school let out for the summer. That was the day Henry Bowers carved the first letter of his name on Ben Hanscom's belly and chased him into the Barrens, the day Henry and his Neanderthal friends beat up on Stuttering Bill Denbrough and Eddie Kaspbrak, the day Stuttering Bill had to save Eddie from his worst asthma attack ever by riding his bike to beat the devil. It ended in August, with seven desperate children in search of a creature of unspeakable evil in the drains beneath Derry. In search of It. And somehow it ended.

Or so they thought. Then.

On a spring night in 1985 Mike Hanlon, once one of those children, makes six calls. Stan Uris, accountant. Richie "Records" Tozier, L.A. disc jockey. Ben Hanscom, renowned architect. Beverly Rogan, dress designer. Eddie Kaspbrak, owner of a successful New York limousine company. And Bill Denbrough, bestselling writer of horror novels. Bill Denbrough who now only stutters in his dreams.

These six men and one woman have forgotten their childhoods, have forgotten the time when they were Losers . . . but an unremembered promise draws them back, the present begins to rhyme dreadfully with the past, and when the Losers reunite, the wheels of fate lock together and roll them toward the ultimate terror.

The Mist (Previously Published as a Novella in 'Skeleton Crew') Signet, 2007.
From the publisher: The storm rolled across Long Lake in Maine with a fury, leaving David Drayton and his family with fallen trees, downed power lines, and no electricity. At his wife's request, David heads to the local supermarket to stock up on supplies, taking his young son and neighbor along for the ride. But the strange white mist that lingered on the lake has followed them to town, stranding them all in the store. Because something in the fog is taking people--and you can hear their screams...

PET SEMATARY. Doubleday, 1983
From the publisher: Set in a small town in Maine to which a young doctor, Louis Creed, and his family have moved from Chicago, Pet Sematary begins with a visit to a graveyard where generations of children have buried their beloved pets. But behind the "pet sematary," there is another burial ground, one that lures people to it with seductive promises . . . and ungodly temptations.

As the story unfolds, so does a nightmare of the supernatural, one so relentless you won't want . . . at moments . . . to continue reading . . . but will be unable to stop

You do it because it gets hold of you, says the nice old man with the secret. You make up reasons . . . they seem like good reasons . . . but mostly you do it because once you've been up there, it's your place, and you belong to it . . .up in the Pet Sematary--and beyond.

Rose Red (2pc) - TV Miniseries 2002
From the website of Stephen King: Professor Joyce Reardon (Nancy Travis) and her boyfriend, Steve Rimbauer (Matt Keeslar) lead a group of psychics in an attempt to prove the existence of paranormal phenomena in a house owned by Rimbauer’s family, known as Rose Red, before it is to be sold to developers. The group is chosen for their individual talents in the paranormal and each has their own reasons for agreeing to the experiment. Annie Wheaton (Kimberly Brown), an autistic teen who has telekinetic abilities, is accompanied by her sister, Rachel (Melanie Lynskey). Emery Waterman (Matt Ross), Nick Hardaway (Julian Sands), Victor Kandinsky (Kevin Tighe), Pam Asbury (Emily Deschanel), and Cathy Kramer (Judith Ivey) round out the group. They are joined, although not by invitation, by Professor Carl Miller (David Dukes) who is attempting to discredit Reardon and Kay Waterman (Laura Kenny), Emery’s controlling mother. They find the house is still inhabited by the malevolent spirits of Rimbauer’s grandmother, Ellen (Julia Campbell) and her servant, Sukeena (Tsidii Leloka) and a former guest, actress Deanna Petrie (Yvonne Scio).

'Salem's Lot. Doubleday, 1975
From the publisher: Salem's Lot is a small New England town with white clapboard houses, tree-lined streets, and solid church steeples. That summer in 'salem's Lot was a summer of homecoming and return; spring burned out and the land lying dry, crackling underfoot. Late that summer, Ben Mears returned to 'salem's Lot hoping to cast out his own devils and found instead a new, unspeakable horror.

A stranger had also come to the Lot, a stranger with a secret as old as evil, a secret that would wreak irreparable harm on those he touched and in turn on those they loved.

All would be changed forever--Susan, whose love for Ben could not protect her; Father Callahan, the bad priest who put his eroded faith to one last test; and Mark, a young boy who sees his fantasy world become reality and ironically proves the best equipped to handle the relentless nightmare of 'Salem's Lot.

This is a rare novel, almost hypnotic in its unyielding suspense, which builds to a climax of classic terror. You will not forget the town of 'salem's Lot nor any of the people who used to live there.

The Shining. Doubleday, 1977.
From the publisher: The Overlook Hotel claimed the most beautfiul physical setting of any resort in the world; but Jack Torrance, the new winter caretaker, with his wife, Wendy and their five-year-old son Danny, saw much more than its splendor.

Jack saw the Overlook as an opportunity, a desperate way back from failure and despair; Wendy saw this lonely sanctuary as a frail chance to preserve their family; and Danny?....Danny, who was blessed or cursed with a shining, precognitive gift, saw visions hideously beyond the comprehension of a small boy. He sensed the evil coiled within the Overlook's one hundred and ten empty rooms; an evil that was waiting just for them.

The Stand: Expanded Edition: For the First Time Complete and Uncut (Signet). Doubleday, 1990
From the publisher: This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides-or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail-and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.

In 1978 Stephen King published The Stand, the novel that is now considered one of his finest works. But as it was first published, The Stand was incomplete, since more than 150,000 words had been cut from the original manuscript. Now Stephen King's apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil has been restored to its entirety.

The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition includes more than 500 pages of material deleted, along with new material that King added as he reworked the manuscript for a new generation. It gives us new characters and endows familiar ones with new depths. It has a new beginning and a new ending. What emerges is a gripping work with the scope and moral complexity of a true epic. For the hundreds of thousands of fans who read The Stand in its original version and wanted more, this new edition is Stephen King's gift.. And those who are reading The Stand for the first time will discover a triumphant and eerily plausible work of the imagination that takes on the issues that will determine our survival.

Nov 14, 2008

Magic Burns -Review

Review of Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews. Ace, 2008

The gigantic flares of magic that engulf Atlanta do plenty of damage. The downtown skyscrapers are piles of junk - like tinker toys that will never be right again.

For those such as Kate Daniels who have magic in their blood the flares can be invigorating or overpowering, and it's hard to know which will happen until the flare hits. The surge of magic did come in handy when fighting the demons making their way from a dark, forbidding pit onto the earth placing ordinary folks and even those not so ordinary in peril.

In Magic Burns, the second book in he Kate Daniels series Kate willingly risks her life to save that of a child who has a secret sort of magic of her own. Julie is alone in the world. Her mother has disappeared and the only other person in her life is a feckless teenage boy who leaves her in the lurch. Fortunately Kate steps in and promises Julie she will help find the missing mom. Their only clue is that Julie's mother had recently joined a coven of witches. But there is no trace of the coven. Every member has disappeared. Someone used bad magic and demons have been unleashed. It's soon apparent that Julie is their target. They appear unstoppable. Even Kate's strong magic doesn't seem to be enough.

Coming to the rescue, is Curran, pack leader of all shapeshifters, and an Alpha male of the heart-stopping hunk variety. Whenever they are together he and Kate have a continuing repartee guaranteed to irritate each other, but it is sharp, witty, funny, and part of the enjoyment of reading this book. The heat between these two can only get hotter. The story line winds and twist and fascinates every step of the way. Book three, Magic Strikes, will be published in March 2009. I can't wait.

Postscript: There are vampires in the alternate reality, but none would ever make the hero of a romance novel. Here is how Kate describes them to Julia: "Look, you have to remember that vampires are mindless like cockroaches. They are just vehicles for the Masters of the Dead. If you see a bloodsucker and ti's not ripping everyone to shred, there's an actual human being riding that vamp's mind...."

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1) Ace, 2007

Nov 12, 2008

30 Days of Vampires

The Vampire Who Stole Christmas, paranormal romance

In honor of her first published vampire tale, The Vampire Who Stole Christmas in the anthology Holiday With A Vampire II (Silhouette Nocturne), Lori Devoti will host 30 Days of Vampires on her blog. Beginning Nov. 12 and for the next thirty days there will be prizes, interviews, excerpts and essays all on vampires. The full schedule is here. "It’s still a work in progress, new authors continue to check in. There is one grand prize of $100 or so worth of vampire books and stuff up for grabs..."

Go here for more information.

On November 15 the essay Whitby, Dracula's Destination by yours truly [Patricia] will be posted. Please stop by and comment.

Web Sites of Paranormal Interest

Does this man think he's a vampire?

by Tom Zytaruk, Surrey Now (Oct. 31,2008)

The question seems to be inevitable, considering the extent in which the mythic monster and its lore has consumed Robert Eighteen-Bisang's life.

"Today, at age 61, Eighteen-Bisang is looking back at a life strangely spent, at least by conventional standards. Affectionately known by some of his fans as "the doctor," Eighteen-Bisang runs a local publishing house called Transylvania Press and is considered the world's foremost authority on vampire literature and lore...." Read more

[Robert Eighteen-Bisang is also the co-author (with Elizabeth Miller) of the outstanding reference book Bram Stoker's Notes for Dracula: A Facsimile Edition. McFarland & Company, 2008.]

Bite Me by Blue Parker. Bell Bridge Books (September 30, 2008)
From the publisher: "An edgy book for teens that spans the gap between YA and adult fiction. Life after high school is tough enough without having to go 15 rounds with your inner demon. Val Shapiro is just your ordinary, part-demon, teenaged vampire hunter with a Texas drawl. And a pet hellhound named Fang. Soon enough she finds herself deep in the underbelly of the city, discovering the secrets of the Demon Underground and fighting to save those she loves. Whether they love her back or not."
see video below:


White Witch, Black Curse (The Hollows, Book 7), Kim Harrison's newest book in the Rachel Morgan series will be out in Feb 2009.

Real Men Have Fangs

Wall Street Journal Oct. 31, 2008

Pulp genres interbreed as wantonly as alley cats. The vampire novel, once strictly relegated to the horror section, has in recent years infiltrated the romance, science-fiction, fantasy and young-adult shelves of bookstores. Individual authors may specialize in anything from gothic swooning to crime-fighting, globe-spanning action, high-school intrigues, chicklit-style shenanigans and Southern-fried humor. Read more...


Twilight the Movie will open Nov. 21. Anticipate lllonnnnnnnnggggg lines!

November Book Contest

This month's contest offers a copy of The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo.

All e-mail subscribers to this blog are eligible to win. If you have not yet signed up it's very easy to do. In the right column look for Subscribe to Patricia's Vampire Notes. Click and you're on your way.

[Sorry I'm a bit late posting this info!]

Nov 10, 2008

Interview with Diane Whiteside

Update - Using the selected winner of Bond of Darkness is christyjan
Please contact me with mailing information at

It's wonderful to have Diane Whiteside author of the Texas Vampires series with us. Book three of the series Bond of Darkness: A Novel of Texas Vampires was published October, 2008.

Welcome Diane! Thanks for joining PVN today.

PVN: Please tell us about the universe of the Texas Vampires?

Diane: Texas is full of wide open spaces. I wanted a universe where vampires could survive where there are less than two people per square mile – and that’s every man, woman, and child.

The Texas Vampires’ universe is based on modern science not folklore, modified by only a few what-ifs. (For example, what if people drank blood to survive?) Everything else follows from those what-ifs.

In the end, their world is rural and gritty, with elements of gangster lore and medieval strongholds.

PVN: What is it about Moorish Spain that fascinates you?

Diane: It’s the only time and place where Christians, Jews, and Moslems lived together for generations in peace (more or less). The art, music, agriculture, and commerce were incredible, drawing upon the strengths of all three peoples. The more I learn about it, the more fascinated I become.

PVN: What attracts you to vampires?

Diane: Vampires live forever and their life is in the blood, making for powerful metaphysical implications. If they get a love relationship right, then it lasts forever. So my characters are playing for the highest of stakes. They can’t change their minds later, unlike somebody in another world. It’s a wonderful knife-edge for an author.

PVN: Don Rafael is a strong presence in the Texas Vampires series. How did you come up with this character?

Diane: I wanted the Texas Vampires’ leader to come from Spain, since those were Texas’s oldest roots (from a white man’s perspective.) I was also interested in a reluctant vampire, who was making the best of his situation and didn’t whine. The patriarchal implications of the Texas Vampires’ rural atmosphere pointed me toward a knight and I immediately loved the ongoing conflict he could have between medieval ideas of honor and the modern world.
I went through that thought process really fast, as in a few days.

The next thing I knew – hello! Don Rafael walked into my brain and took it over. Medieval Spanish knight from their most legendary court, who loved his wife for seven centuries. Captured and tortured into becoming a vampire. Member of one of the greatest knightly orders, who has difficulty resolving his duty as a knight with his existence as a vampire. Holder of an enormous land grant from the last Spanish king of Texas, a monarch whose name is barely mentioned in Spain.

Ruthless enough to kill any woman who’s a threat to his beloved Texas but won’t change a woman into a vampire because she’ll probably either die or go insane.

PVN: I love the tough state trooper Steve (Stephanie) in Bond of Darkness, who wants a family and a house with a white picket fence. Tell us about her.

Steve comes from a long line of cops and has totally dedicated her life to that job. On the other hand, she’d love to be a wife and mother, thus giving herself the family life her own mother denied her. But no man has ever been able to cope with her as a woman. (Hey, how many men can snuggle up to a woman who can outshoot them? Or lifts how many pounds? Just not good for her love life.)

So Steve has focused on her job, never quite realizing she has to become comfortable with herself as a woman, too.

PVN: How did you research the locations where your stories take place?

Diane: I’ve visited many of them, especially in the U.S. For example, I’ve worked in New Orleans. I also have books; I’m especially fond of driving guides to an area. (A friend sent me a collection of historic ones for the Texas Hill Country which are awesome!) Texas Highways magazine is priceless for anyone writing about Texas, whether historic or contemporary.

PVN: You are such a prolific writer. What other projects are you working on?

Diane: Kisses Like A Devil, the next generation of my Devils, comes out in February 2009. Brian Donovan (the son of William Donovan from The Irish Devil) meets his match in a feminist college student in 1900 Europe, who’s stolen the plans for the era’s ultimate weapon.

CAPTIVE HEARTS, the sequel to CAPTIVE DREAMS, comes out in November 2009. Alekhsiy, Mykhayl’s younger brother, comes from Torhtremer to a Con on modern-day Earth. Unfortunately, the sorceress who can destroy his world is also the one who’s saved his life times without number.

PVN: Where and when do you write? Describe the ambience.

Diane: I have a full-time job so I write at night and on the weekends. The littlest bedroom in the house became my office. We crammed three bookcases along one wall and they overflow with books. My desk fits into one corner under the big window. I always do aromatherapy and lots of CDs – instrumental music for when I’m writing but period music when I’m delving into my characters’ psyches.

Since I suffer from what Erma Bombeck called “the mayonnaise jar syndrome” where I’d rather read anything else – including a mayonnaise jar label than write – I try to keep my office as neat as possible. I do try, with more or less success.

PVN: What books or authors most influenced you?

Diane: The The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien, Elizabeth Lowell, Linda Howard. The trilogy’s structure was strongly influenced by The Lord of the Rings.

PVN: When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do?

Diane: I enjoy spending time with my family and pets, garden, and travel.

Diane's website

Bond of Darkness: A Novel of Texas Vampires

Book trailer for Bond of Darkness

Diane has graciously donated a copy of Bond of Darkness for a contest.

Contest details:

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Bond of Darkness

For a chance to win do one (or more) of the following:

*Comment on any subject from the interview. Each comment on a different subject counts as an entry.

*Ask Diane a question. Each question counts as an entry.

*Link to Patricia's Vampire Notes and send me the URL. Each link counts as an entry.

Be sure to include email information so that I will be able to contact you.

This contest ends at 11:59 pm November 11, 2008.

Winners will be announced later in the week.