I don’t remember the first vampire book I ever read, but I do remember the first vampire movie I saw. I didn’t sleep soundly for days after watching Stephen King’s SALEM’S LOT movie. In fact, even thinking about it now, I can still envision those vampires at the window and hear them trying to come inside! The sound still gives me shivers! It didn’t help that I was still young (not even a teenager yet) and my best friend had giant bay windows in the living room where we watched the made for tv movie. As night fell, the windows behind us seemed more and more ominous as I was just certain a vampire or two would come calling for us!
After watching the movie, I of course had to read the book, ‘SALEM’S LOT, and Stephen King’s words were even scarier than that old movie. I devoured all of his books that I could get my hands on, looking for something to grab my attention like the vampires had. And oh, did I love Stephen King’s books… but the vampires came back to bite me again when I discovered Anne Rice and Lestat. INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE took me into a whole new world with vampires and after that, I was officially hooked on vampire tales!
Since the days of ‘SALEM’S LOT, vampires have had a huge revival in popular culture and a definite shift in their tone. Now we have vampires that sparkle, like in the Twilight saga, fall in love as they do in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series, and battle evil, like Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series. We have vampires seeking more mundane services, such as the dentist in Kerrilyn Sparks’ HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE VAMPIRE, the vampires with tortured pasts of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, vampires consorting with shapeshifters in Chloe Neill’s Heirs of Chicagoland series, and vampires seen as a plague in THE STRAIN by Guillermo de Toro and Chuck Hogan. We even have fabulous vampire hunter books, such as John Steakley’s VAMPIRES, VAMPIRE HUNTER D by Hideyuki Kikuchi and Yoshitaka Amano, and ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER by Seth Grahame-Smith. And I would be remiss not to mention Raymond Villareal’s A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE VAMPIRE UPRISING, as well as other noted series featuring vampires by authors such as Jeaniene Frost, Barb and J.C. Hendee, Faith Hunter, and so many others.
Recently, I read WALK AMONG US, a vampire anthology featuring stories by Genevieve Gornichec, Cassandra Khaw, and Caitlin Starling. The authors were completely unknown to me but Vampire: The Masquerade’s World of Darkness was not. I remember browsing the shelves at B. Dalton (for those who are too young to remember B. Dalton, it was the shopping mall’s smaller Barnes and Noble branded store) and seeing all the role-playing guides to the Vampire: The Masquerade series and wishing I had the money to buy each and every one of them. Fortunately, White Wolf Publishing produced several mass market books and I devoured them. The stories are dark and gritty, just like the old vampire movie that first pulled me into my love of vampires all those years ago.
WALK AMONG US is the perfect book for readers who want to see the darker side of vampires. The three authors take very different approaches to their storylines, as we see how vampires recruit, how important it is to read any contract with a vampire especially when immortality is involved, and how vampires cultivate their prey. Inklings of the various vampire factions and their politics are interwoven into the stories, making the reader thirst for more. I’m so excited that Harper Voyager has revived the series and is breathing new life into the clans and into the vampire genre!
What are some of your favorite vampire books?
Debbie Wiley is a senior reviewer at FreshFiction.com.