Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review of Draculas

By Blake Crouch, Jack Kilborn, Jeff Strand & F. Paul Wilson

What do you get when four quick-witted, macabre-loving authors combine velociraptors, a rampant virus and Transylvania’s most famous export? You get DRACULAS, a manically-paced thriller that’s over before you realize it, leaving you gasping for air.

Spitting in the face of books glamorizing seductive, beautiful vampires who sparkle in the sun, DRACULAS begins with wealthy Mortimer Moorecook’s acquisition of an ancient skull unearthed from a field in Transylvania – apparently a human skull, except for the thirty-two shark-like teeth.

To the horror of his assistants, the mortally-ill Moorecook squeezes the jaws around his own neck, causing the razor-like fangs to bite deeply into his own flesh. He’s rushed to the hospital - but things go awry when he springs back to life on the gurney, fangs ripping his own mouth to shreds, leaving him consumed with blood rage, biting and clawing anyone in reach.

Anyone bitten in turn becomes infected and within a half an hour morphs into a raptor-like, mindless beast with an insatiable appetite for blood. Soon, the hospital is swarming with bitey Draculas.

There’s so much to love about this book, be it the snippets of humor, which are funnier because they are so unexpected (Metallica elevator music?), or Dracula clowns – a la Stephen King’s IT - making balloon animals out of intestines, or a frenetic pace befitting an episode of the hit series “24” … though without the bad acting.

Bowing to the movies that most likely helped shape their own individual writing styles, the authors paid homage to TERMINATOR, TRON, DOGS OF WAR, MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, MAGNUM FORCE, ALIENS, BLADE II, not to mention the Dracula’s uncanny resemblance to JURASSIC PARK’s most lovable raptors.

Though the authors’ voices mixed with the smoothness of a mens’ choir, you could almost taste the competition, with the four spurring each other to heights that might not have achieved individually, likely because each of the authors took stewardship of individual characters.

As a writer and reader of humor books, I’m not a big fan of horror as a rule, but the unrelenting pace of this book left me little time to soak in the horror of certain sections. Before I could reflect on the gruesomeness of a Dracula consuming his own flesh, the authors would shove me down another precipice of heart-stopping action. It was much like riding a rock and roll rollercoaster in a tunnel filled with music and strobe lights, thrilling and scary as hell …then it’s over before you know it.

This book thoroughly entertained, and I ripped through it like a squirrel in a birdfeeder. And not to be missed are the bonus sections, with an alternate ending, short stories by each of the authors and hilarious back and forth repartee by the authors as they illuminate how they constructed the story from beginning to end.

When you read this, do yourself a favor and give yourself time to read it in one sitting.

Here’s the buy-link.

Norm Cowie

Author of FANG FACE, as if being a teenager doesn’t suck enough

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