Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Blood Red – review

Author: James A Moore

First published: 2005

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: “Welcome to Black Stone Bay, Rhode Island, a picturesque town full of charm and beloved holiday traditions. But this Halloween there’s a chill in the air that has nothing to do with Autumn. And with it comes a murder of crows casting a shadow on each house, one by one. It’s an omen of things to come, ushering in the arrival of a stranger to Black Stone Bay – a stranger with an insatiable thirst, and a terrible plan for a night no one is meant to survive.”

The review: I have gone on at some length, in other reviews, about the move away from romantic vampires – a move that I welcome. However, more often than not the move is one that sees the vampire turned into a ravening psychopathic beast.

What was interesting about this book was that it again moved away from the Ricean vampire, and in doing so created some new lore, but kept the vampire intelligent and erudite – just plain evil and sociopathic.

Actually, that isn’t entirely true as, in the new lore, we have two types of blood sucker. The creature I just described, the stranger come to town, classes himself as undead. The undead are created through transference of blood and other bodily fluids between victim and attacker, and back. These creatures are intelligent, can control the weather, our main vampire controls crows, can fly and can vanish into thin air. He can also survive grievous injury and sunlight – it weakens but does not destroy.

Those who are his victims but do not taste of his blood are vampires. More like the traditional revenant they are destroyed by immolation or sunlight. They can give the illusion of wholesomeness but are actually dead and decayed in appearance. When they awaken they have little intelligence and, normally, many do not survive the first night. These are the more psychotic beast, at least at first. If they do survive they start thinking a little more, many becoming obsessed with avenging old grudges or just getting back to their families.

There is also a very interesting lore aspect regarding faith. The stranger (he does have a name but as the blurb didn’t mention it neither will I) can see faith burning like shimmering light from the religious institutions in town. In order to dull that faith he uses a mortal agent to sow doubt through sin.

The book itself could bear comparison to ‘Salem’s Lot, a vampire takes over small town and vampirises population. Indeed – in the afterword – Moore mentions that his writing has been likened to Stephen King’s. However that would be to do this book a disservice, in some respects, as this is not a take over for no adequately explored reason but there is a plan, a grand scheme.

The novel drips with horror and, in a forward by Simon Clark, the source of this is identified in the concept of taking of a normal town and introducing, slowly at first, the inexplicable. The book carries a darkness through its pages and leaves the reader wanting more. Luckily Moore has left room for a sequel in this universe whilst closing the main threads of this story neatly.

I should also mention the two detectives who feature in the book, Boyd and Holdstedter, a cracking pair of characters with some wonderful dialogue banter that I looked forward to each time they appeared on page.

8.5 out of 10.


swish said...

Looks like my kind of book. I'm going to look for it today.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hope you enjoy it Swish

swish said...

I just finished this book. Wow. I loved it. Thanks for the review.
I would love to see this as a movie. I'm trying to think who could pull off "Maggie".

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Glad you enjoyed it Swish. I'll give some thought as to who could pull off Maggie, as it where. However ever it was would have to be able to act - that's for sure.

sroit said...

After reading this book several months ago, it became one of my favorites.

I do hope there is a sequel. I loved the ending...

Taliesin_ttlg said...

S - I look forward to a sequel also. That said I am also looking forward to book 2 and 3 from a certain author commenting not a million miles from here!

Actually I checked in our local bookstore this past Saturday for your book #2, but it wasn't in (book 1 was) - probably awaiting stock.

sroit said...

Well, let's hope they're not disappointments. ;-)

I know the second one is around several places—pity I don't know which local shops, being not a million miles away. ;-)

Taliesin_ttlg said...

It was Waterstones, to be honest, however your book is now firmly enshrined into my amazon wish list and will, undoubtedly, be one of the next tranch of purchases made from that fine establishment.

However, as I have a backlog of books to read (as always!) I can't firmly say when that'll be - but soon, promise.

sroit said...

No worries. I always have a backlog, too.