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Draculas

Review by: 
Catwalk
Author: 
Blake Crouch, Jack Kilborn
Jeff Strand, F.Paul Wilson
Genre: 
Horror
Publication Date: 
2010
Publisher: 
Amazon Exclusive e-Book
Bottom Line: 
5

My name is Mortimer Moorecook.  I’m a predator, or sorts.  I made my fortune in the 80’s when it was not only acceptable, but stylish, to rip off those less aware of the consequences of finance.  Capitalism is a game, and I knew how to win that game better than Bill Gates himself.  Unfortunately, balance sheets and income statements don’t guarantee long-term health, and so, like Goliath, I found myself knocked on my ass by the unexpected stone called cancer.  I was wasting away in my mansion, accompanied only by my hospice nurse, Jenny, and my assistant, Shanna.  I was alone in my pain. ..Until I saw the tabloids about its discovery.

It, of course, was the fabled skull of Dracula himself, unearthed by some simpleton Romanian farmer who had no idea what it really was…what it truly meant.  I sent him a sum equal to the fortunes of his entire village, perhaps his whole country. I was dying, but I knew that immortality could still be within my reach. By the time the FedEx driver disappeared into the dark night, I could already feel my senses on edge.  Shanna, my assistant, was an anthropologist, and her curiosity nearly equaled my own.  Jenny, my hospice nurse, hovered above us, always willing to deliver the sedative that would render me senseless.  Tonight wasn’t the night to dull my senses.

Shanna approached the curious skill with learned anticipation.  She noted the elongated jaws, the sharpened, hollowed teeth.  She felt it was hardly human, if it was ever human at all.  Jenny agreed. Thoughts crashed over my brain like tides…young thoughts, healthy thoughts…the thoughts of young, vibrant men.  In an instant, I raised the Dracula skull up, and clamped its fangs deep into the paper-thin skin of my own neck.

***

If Mortimer Moorecook had been able to confess his state of mind, his testimony may have read something like I concocted above.  Unfortunately, readers aren’t granted such insight, because Mortimer barely reveals who he is, why he wants to last forever, or who matters in his life before he latches the fangs of the dead vampire to his neck, and instantly undergoes a transformation that touches every life yet to be introduced in the horror-comedy book, “Draculas.”

Think of the reading experience as a crack in the windshield that just expands outward in circle after circle.  Mortimer is the center of the web. Jenny and Shanna represent the closest ring.  Mortimer codes, and the EMT comes to the scene.  They head to the ER.  The EMT’s and ER doc; callous, pompous narcissist Dr. Lanz, are the next wave.  That spreads to the other patients and attendees in the E.R., and there’s where the comedy begins.

“Draculas” features a wide variety of heroes and (sometimes involuntary) villains, thanks largely to the authors collaborating on the story. Unlike traditional stories, “Draculas” is the collaboration of four well-established and incredibly talented horror fiction authors. In this instance, each has chosen to represent a hero and a villain, and to incorporate the story arcs in a rapid-fire, disorienting series of events that has readers hopping between multiple points-of-view.

Understanding what readers are in for is easier if they understand which cooks inhabited the kitchen to create the heaping bowl of comedy, medical jargon, guns, ammo, fear, desperation, and horror that is “Draculas.” Jack Kilborn (Afraid), Blake Crouch (Abandon, Snow Bound), Jeff Strand (Single White Psycopath Seeks Same), and F. Paul Wilson (the Repairman Jack series) decided to come together for a very unusual collaboration. (If asked, they’ll all blame Kilborn for the idea, which seems to be the normal M.O. for this crowd.) Ten pages in, the story is frightening.  Thirty pages in, the story is bizarre. Sixty pages in, readers will be looking at their eBook readers and saying “really, WTF?”

The title “Draculas” may give prospective readers the image of a marching army of Bela Lugosi clones. That is very far from the case.  The vampires in this book range from old men to cops, clowns to kids, invalids to orderlies. Anyone can get infected, and infection means bloodlust. Think of “Draculas” as the machete aimed at chopping down the growing harvest of happy, children-friendly vampire stories flooding the market.

The readers’ experience is very much like reading a movie.  I don’t mean reading a screenplay.  I mean reading sight gags (some that may actually make you gag) and the type of comedic horror that made the Evil Dead franchise famous. The characters have strong beliefs and devotion, and their individual stories aren’t lost in the overwhelming chaos that overtakes Blessed Crucifixion Hospital.

The “Draculas” eBook is a rather unique beast in itself. In addition to the 159 page story, the eBook includes alternate and deleted scenes, bibliographies of each author, several email threads shared by the collaborators, and acknowledgements. Several short stories are also included, like “Cub Scout Gore Feast” and “Serial.”  In all, the extras span 220 pages, most of which is email exchanges that provide insight into the writing styles and personalities of the collaborators.

“Draculas” is not for the squeamish, and certainly not for traditionalists who believe that horror and comedy can’t, or shouldn’t, co-exist.  The book is incredibly violent, and each author’s attempt to outdo the others helps to ensure they each bring their A game.  In all, “Draculas” is disgusting, scary, hilarious, and entertaining…confirmation that each author understands how to torture their characters and their readers alike.

 

Pre-Order your copy today! - http://www.amazon.com/DRACULAS-Novel-Terror-ebook/dp/B0042AMD2M

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