Draculas: No sparkles here

I wasn’t going to do a blog post on this book originally because I had mentioned it in a previous post and thought it would be overkill to mention it again. At that time though, I had just started reading the book and really didn’t have high expectations for it. As I got more into it, I realized that this was a really good horror novel and I needed to talk about it.

The book is Draculas and its a collaboration between 4 authors:  F. Paul Wilson who wrote The Keep and the Repairman Jack series; Jeff Strand author of Dweller and Graverobbers Wanted(No Experience Necessary); Blake Crouch, writer of Desert Places and Locked Doors and the guy who came up with the concept was Jack Kilborn (Also writes under the name J.A. Knonrath), the author of Afraid and Shaken.

Jack got the idea when he was looking at the Kindle best seller list and he noticed how many books were classic novels in the public domain. Among them we’re several different versions of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Vampires are always popular and he came up with the idea of vampires in a hospital and humans trying to survive. He didn’t have time to write the book himself so he enlisted the help of other authors to write part of the book. Each author wrote 15,000 words from the point of view of one human and one vampire.

Jack also noticed that most vampires in todays literature we’re teen heartthrobs or romantic leads and he decided he wanted to make vampires scary again. Edward (from Twilight) would run in fear if he saw the vampires in Draculas. These vampires have no feelings and are not sex symbols. They wan’t one thing from humans and that’s blood. Also the vampires in this story don’t have just 2 fangs. They have a  mouthful of 6 inch long fangs. They can also  see in total darkness and are stronger and faster then humans.

The story for Draculas is about a retired millionaire, Mortimer Moorecock, who is dying of cancer. In order to survive his disease, Mortimer has bought a skull found in Romania that is believed to have belonged to Count Dracula. When Mortimer gets the skull, he clamps its jaws on his neck and goes into convulsions. He is rushed to the hospital where he dies and rises again as a vampire.

From that point on its complete chaos with Mort killing six people in the ER. They all come back as vampires and the patients and faculty of the hospital have to escape or be turned into the living dead. The story for Draculas is simple, what makes it a good book is the characters. In addition to the doctors and nurses, you have a gun crazy sheriff, a lumberjack with a chainsaw, a married couple about to have their first child, and a vampire clown named Benny.

Benny the clown is one nasty vampire and despite the fact that he was evil, he was my favorite character in the book. Every scene he was in I found myself thinking of the theme to Killer Klowns From Outer Space. If you are afraid of clowns you may want to avoid this book because Benny is one sadistic clown. There are some scenes in the book where all he does is stand and stare at his victims which is scary in itself, but when he performs some obscene acts for a captive audience, the book gets really interesting.

Though Draculas is loaded with violence and action, what really makes it good is that the authors make you care about the protagonists. A part that had me on the edge of my seat was when a young husband has to go to the blood bank in the hospital to get blood for a transfusion to save his wife who had a hemmorage after child birth. There is also a couple of touching scenes where a divorced couple reconciles and a young couple tells each other how they feel in the face of what looks like certain death. The only part of the book that I didn’t like was that sometimes the vampires seem too much like zombies and I didn’t like that they constantly called the vampires Draculas, but they do give an explanation for that in the story.

The ending in Draculas was a perfect end to a wild ride and was a total surprise to me. Draculas is everything a horror novel should be, it has humor, plenty of gore, good characters, suspense, and a decent love story. If thats not enough to get you to want to get it, the E-book version is loaded with extras. You get three short stories, deleted scenes, and it includes all the emails that the authors sent to each other as they we’re working on the book. If you are an aspiring writer and you we’re thinking of collaborating with another author, this book gives you a good look at the creative process of co-authoring a book. The extras in the e-book are like getting the director’s cut of a movie along with commentary. This is something I would love to see more authors do for their novels. (Emz are you reading this? We want a director’s cut of Night’s Knights. Make it happen.)

Zombies, Vampires, and Cursed Skulls

I love all genres of literature but my favorite genre to read is horror. I especially like horror mixed with comedy and I’ve read three books recently that fit that category. The first book I want to talk about is The Sinister Mr. Corpse by Jeff Strand. The story is about a man named Stanley Dabernath who was a regular guy until he became the worlds first living zombie.

Stanley’s movie company, Demented Whacko’s Video is not successful. In fact he is $60,000 in debt, was recently evicted from his apartment and lives off a diet of  Ramen Noodles that he stole from the grocery store. His luck changes one day though when he is run over by a milk truck and drowns in the milk.

Death is not the end for Stanley. His body is rescued from the morgue and he gets brought back to life on national TV by Project Second Chance. Now Stanley has everything he could ever want, he has money, fame, product endorsements, action figures and he’s a hit on all the talk shows. Stanley has the life he has always dreamed of, but it comes at a price, he has to take injections to keep from rotting any more then he already has, Project Second Chance owns his body and there is a group of religious fanatics that want to prove that he’s a fake.

After two failed attempts to kill him, being hounded by the media and having a man decide to build a religion based on him; Stanley escapes project Second Chance and heads to New York to become a super hero. Things don’t go well and he gets kidnapped and held for ransom. He then finds out what happens when he doesn’t get his injections and the secret behind how Project Second Chance brought him back to life. I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t science that resurrected him.

The Sinister Mr. Corpse is an action packed horror comedy filled with twists and turns. What I enjoyed most was the dialog in the book, all of the characters had great personality and if the book had no action and was made up entirely of dialog between the characters, I would have still enjoyed it. Another part that really stuck out with me was a fight between Mr. Corpse and an assassin near the end which unexpectedly moves from drama to comedy. Despite the fact that this book is meant mainly for laughs, it does make a good point about how we should be careful about idolizing celebrities.

If you need any more influence to buy The Sinister Mr. Corpse, check out the reviews on Amazon from Jeff Strand and J.A. Konrath and after your done check out their book of humorous horror stories called Suckers. I have to say up front about Suckers, its definitely not a great work of literature, but I found myself laughing quite a bit. In the books the authors themselves describe the book as “Men have weiners, he he he.” That should tell you what your getting into if you buy it.

Some of the short stories in Suckers include A Bit of Halloween Mayhem, where a couple of people break into a haunted house on Halloween and get more then they bargained for and The Necro File which follows Detective Harry McGlade as he investigates some strange happenings in a cemetery.

The main story in Suckers was written by both authors and includes two characters that have been in some of the novels that they have written in the past. Detective Harry McGlade  is called to Florida to find a kidnapped girl. As he is breaking into the house where he believes the girl is being held, he runs into Andrew Mayhem who was only trying to bring a jar of spaghetti sauce to his wife. Afraid Mayhem will call the cops on him, Harry makes Andrew enter the house with him and discovers a house full of wannabe vampires  who want to make McGlade their lunch. If you have a strong stomach and need a good laugh, pick this book up.

The last book I wanted to mention is one I’m currently reading and since it was in the same vein (pun intended) as the others I wanted to mention it. The book is Draculas by Jeff Strand, Jack Kilborn (pen name of J.A. Konrath), F. Paul Wilson and Blake Crouch. The story is about retired millionaire Mortimer Moorecock who is dying of cancer. In order to survive his disease Mortimer has bought a skull found in Romania that is believed to have belonged to Count Dracula. When Mortimer gets the skull he clamps its jaws on his neck and goes into convulsions. He is rushed to the hospital where he dies and rises again as a vampire.

The description of this book describes it as Dawn of the Dead in a hospital but with vampires in place of zombies. These are not the kind of vampires with feelings, they’re the blood thirsty killing anti-Twilight kind. Each Author in this book took a character in the story and wrote the most intense black comedy horror story they could. If you know of any good books combining horror and comedy please leave a comment.

Slasher Horror Books

While looking for slasher horror novels I found a book right away that really shocked me. It was Friday the 13th Church of the Divine Psychopath by Scott Phillips. The reason this book shocked me is because it’s actually a novel based on Jason from the Friday the 13th movies. I’m not a fan of the Friday the 13th films and I wouldn’t think that Jason would be a good subject to base a novel on, but this book looks pretty good.

This is actually the first book in a series based on Friday the 13th’s Jason. The story is about a religious cult who goes to Camp Crystal Lake so they can revive Jason. They think he will become an angel and do gods work. Needless to say things go badly, Jason starts killing everyone and a secret government agency comes in to take down Jason and the cult.

There is also a series of novels based on A Nightmare on Elm Street. The first book in the series is called Suffer the Children by David Bishop. Six teenagers have volunteered to be in a sleep study where they will test a new anti-insomnia drug, little do they know that by taking the drug they have now become the plaything of Freddy Kruger.

Another book I found was They Never Die Quietly by D.M. Annechino. Detective Sami Rizzo is in charge of a task force investigating serial killings in San Diego. The killer on the loose believes that god has given him absolute authority to purify his unholy victims. Sami finds the serial killer but is captured and must outsmart the killer to escape.

Staying with the theme of serial killers is I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells. This book kind of has the same story as Showtime’s Dexter. The lead character is a high school student named John who happens to be a sociopath and is obsessed with serial killers and dead bodies. John follows a set of rules that keeps him from giving in to his dark side. He also helps out in the local mortuary where his mother and aunt work. One day while inspecting bodies that have been slashed open in the exact same way, John realizes that his town has a serial killer and decides to track him down so he can study him.

One of my favorite novels that fits in the slasher genre is The Island by Richard Laymon. The story is told from the diary of a teenager named Rupert. He had taken a yacht trip with his girlfriend’s family to a deserted island for a picnic. While enjoying the picnic they see their yacht explode and are stranded. To make things worse they soon find out that they are not alone on the island. Two members of their group get their throats slashed and the rest of the castaways have to find the killer and escape the island.

I’m a big fan of Laymon. This book is filled with several plot twists and non stop action. If you are willing to suspend your disbelief, overlook some ridiculous scenes, and you don’t offend easily, this is a good read. The only part I didn’t like was the ending, which was meant to be shocking but only seemed to make me mad. I don’t want to give it away, you’ll have to buy the book.

There are two other books that I wanted to mention, I didn’t have to much to say about these because I couldn’t find much of a description on either one but they did fit the genre so I thought they were worth bringing up. The first book is Endurance by Jack Kilborn which follows a killer who is hunting down and killing female athletes.

The second book is The Killing Kind by Bryan Smith which is about a group of college kids partying at a beach house. Little do they know that their party is about to be crashed by a pair of homicidal maniacs.

Know of any other slasher books? Please let us know.