Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Author: Wayne Mallows
I think the title alone says all you need to know without me giving you the blurb from the back cover...............
This is the first part of a trilogy, the others yet to be released, and follows Aremis Eilbeck as he is transformed from farmer’s son to vampire and travels from the West Country (of England) to a seemingly perpetually rainy London in search of the mysterious female who bit him and made him a vampire.
Once in London he sets about finding accommodation and a job, occasionally writing to his sister Temperance (this is shown in diary entries from her that pop up at the start of chapters, but more of her later). Years pass and he slowly comes to terms with his nature, using chicken blood to survive until a series of strange murders start to occur in London's East End. This leads him to Jacqueline, the vampire who turned him, and a slow realisation that he may know the identity of the notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper...........of course you all got it straight away as well....Jacqueline (Jac) is murdering prostitutes out of what seems to be boredom as well as a bloodlust that transcends the need to feed.
Aremis takes it upon himself to hunt her down, partly to stop the killings and partly for an explanation as to his nature, and she starts to send letters taunting him, and so a game of cat and mouse ensues.
Temperance meanwhile has reached an assumption that Aremis is Jack. She comes upon this decision in part due to a lack of letters arriving, and partly due to some unexplained “second sight”. Although Temperance nursed Aremis back to health after Jac turned him there didn't seem to be a reason for her second sight, hopefully this will become clearer in later parts of the trilogy.
Of course as the game continues Aremis gets closer to the heart of the mystery, along the way finding himself also capable of taking human blood when the red mist descends, but he justifies this by killing only beggars and criminals, dumping their bodies in the Thames.
A brief respite occurs when “Jac” goes North to the Scottish Border in order to talk to her mother. This was slightly at odds with the rest of the story, but I'm assuming that as her mother was dead it was used as an explanation of sorts for the behaviour she exhibits when on a killing spree.
Upon her return to the capital the book speeds to their inevitable meeting.
I did have a few quibbles, mainly due perhaps to an over pedantic nature..........the proofreading was pretty bad with numerous spelling and grammatical errors, but as it's an independent press we can forgive this. The worst was the usage of language. I fully appreciate that the main market for this novel will be North America, but please Wayne.....here on the other side of the pond we don't have boardwalks, we don't give directions in blocks (our cities aren't built that way), we don't have candies, we have sweets, and finally we don't have sumac as a plant here, especially not on the Scottish Border.
That apart, I did enjoy reading it and would commend Wayne for his idea of a female vampiric Jack the Ripper, and look forward to reading the next part of the trilogy. Overall a well-deserved 6.5 out of 10 and a praiseworthy first novel, I look forward to seeing where the author takes the story.