I was emailed recently by author Frank Martin that I incorrectly titled the story that I reviewed for him. There were two stories, the vampire love story Skin Deep and the werewolf graphic novel, Ordinary Monsters.
As I am not a fan of graphic novels I did not read Ordinary Monsters. I reviewed the vampire story, Skin Deep.
My apologies to the author, his fans, and our readers.
Ever since Twilight took the world by storm vampire love stories have taken on a mind of their own. From the relatively PG Vampire Diaries on CW and the intensely eroticized True Blood on HBO fans of vampire romance, no matter their age can get their fill of beautiful vampires and relatively naïve humans who think they can ‘change’ their love interest when ironically, it is usually the humans who experience the greatest change.
Yet with Frank Martin’s Skin Deep you are not going to get the Twilight sappy angst ridden stubborn teen and the beautiful sparkly to good to be true vampire boyfriend. You won’t even get the sanitized porn of a True Blood. What you will get is a satirical look at a story that pokes a little fun at the idea of vampires who sparkle and the girls who love them. Laura and Jessica are two very different sisters. Laura is the angst ridden teen which is the perfect target for a vampire who enjoys changing people’s lives. Jessica is the older sister with the troubled past. Laura’s life in the eyes of her sister is perfect. Jessica’s life is one big screw-up to Laura who doesn’t understand why her older sister, despite being 21 doesn’t have to adhere to the carefully constructed picture of a perfect family. For Laura she thinks her life is one big sham constructed by her parents of said perfect family for public consumption. One would think it would be Jessica who would fall prey to a vampire. Think again. Laura shatters the idea of a perfect family by following Jessica to a club she shouldn’t be in. Where said vampire lays in wait pretending the teenager holds no interest for him. When Laura gets fed up with the deception of pretending to be a normal family she runs away.
Martin takes fans of the vampire love story on a way that the ending with both shock and sadden you but it is a love story. He captures perfectly the angst of a teenager who feels everything is out of her control. He also captures the drama between two sisters so realistically there were times I saw similarities to growing up with a younger sister myself. Martin has a bright future in the horror genre and I look forward to seeing him as a member of the Horror Writers Association.
Ever wonder what happened to Frankenstein’s monster once he had his revenge on Victor? What about Dracula? Did he survive into the modern era unscathed as the patriarch of his own clan of vampires? Last but certainly not least what if they ran into each other or sought the other out?
Terry M West answers this question in Night Things. Frankenstein was a lost and lonely soul in Mary Shelley’s classic who did terrible things to the loved ones of his creator. It is this creature we soon meet in West’s novel. In the evolution of the beast he is found miserable and alone in a cave by Dracula. Through Dracula he finds a father figure who does not shun him as an abomination but a patient teacher who breathes new life and a plan into a more than willing source.
The Frankenstein that we sympathized with is swallowed up in a similar fashion as was Victor and yet perversely different. He is the opposite of the kind of ‘night thing’ in which Dracula envisioned. At this crossroads of ideology is where West’s true genius is realized.
Imagine a world where the creatures of the night walked freely among us. Zombies were only mindless beasts driven to hysterical eating frenzies when large groups assembled. To this advantage the two powerhouses of legendary classic literary monsters clash in a mafia-esque style battle of even more brutally violent than when Al Capone raged a war on rivals in long ago Chicago.
If you are looking for a Freddy vs Jason campy based horror this is the wrong book for you but if you are looking for a suspenseful bloody battle of wits then Night Things is the beginning of a wonderfully macabre journey of immortal creatures ruling the slimy underworld of organized crime.
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Here is a link to the digital version (your choice) of Blood Reign’s first anthology!
All of the stories included in the anthology were some of the best new stories from indy authors that our editors have read. From these we nominated three finalists.
I’d like to thank Bram Stoker Nominee/LA Chapter Co Chair John Palisano, Bram Stoker Nominee / HWA Events Chair JG “Greg” Faherty, and HWA Chapter Drive Chair/HWA Board Secretary/Bram Stoker Award Winner Joe Mckinney for reading the Blood Reign Lit Short Story of the Year Finalists: “Jenny,” “To Be Thirsty,” and “Canopic Servitude.”
And the winner is:
“Jenny” by Mijat
First runner up is “To Be Thirsty” by Melissa Stanizale
Second Runner up is “Canopic Servitude” by Essel Pratt