5 Vampire Novels For Your Consideration

 In Books, Vampires

We’ve done films twice, we’ve looked at comics and graphic novels, and now it’s the turn of the books.

Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you,

5 Vampire Novels For Your Consideration.

1. The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova

Image result for the historian elizabeth kostova

I really, really, really wanted to like this book. That probably explains why I tramped on through to the ending, instead of giving up halfway through.

Because I so very really wanted to like The Historian.

This is how much I wanted to enjoy it: I bought the darn thing in its hardback edition.

And I thought I would like it because it was described as ‘unbearably suspenseful’ and ‘jump out of your chair’ scary.

Huh. I must have been reading a different edition of The Historian. One in which all the suspenseful scary parts had been removed and replaced with dull conversations in libraries around the world. It’s hardly realistic either. In not one of these libraries do our heroes get shushed by a librarian.

via GIPHY

So, if you’ve read The Librarian – sorry – The Historian, could you please contact me and explain what I’m missing, because I sure must have missed something.

 

2. Salem’s Lot – Stephen King

Image result for salem's lot book

Now this is much better. Say what you like about Stephen King and his output and the quality – or lack – of, especially in his later works, but damn that man can write a terrifying novel when he puts his mind to it. And Salem’s Lot, for me at least, is one of his scariest.

Yep, it’s up there with The Shining, Misery and Pet Semetary.

The brilliance of Salem’s Lot is the way in which he managed to combine the soap opera elements of prime time TV shows with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The plot and the characters populating King’s novel don’t have the feel of real life, they have something far better – the feel of a soap opera, something which many people can identify with.

I first read Salem’s Lot when I was far too young to be reading that kind of material and it scared the hell out of me. Then I read it again many years later and it scared the hell out of me all over again!

3. The Passage – Justin Cronin

Image result for the passage justin cronin

Oh boy, I can feel myself dropping off to sleep just thinking about this novel. Actually, at 785 pages and in hardback (yes, another book I bought in hardback and then regretted) it could have knocked me out if it had landed on my head.

To be honest, that’s a little unfair. In fact, I really enjoyed the first couple hundred pages. The outbreak, the man running away with the girl, doing his best to protect her. It was all very exciting and had me glued to the pages.

But then it suddenly skipped a hundred years into the future and I had to get to know a whole set of new characters and a new situation. Not good, especially as a lot of this part of the story is told in flashback in a very passive, flat way.

The third half of the book improved somewhat, but never reached the heights of the first third, and I never bothered to read the rest of the trilogy.

So, to borrow a football saying, The Passage is a game of three halves.

That is right, isn’t it? A game of three halves?

 

4. Fat White Vampire Blues – Andrew Fox

Image result for fat white vampire blues

‘Jules Duchon was a real New Orleans vampire. Born and bred in the working-class Ninth Ward, bitten and smitten with the Big Easy. Driving through the French Quarter, stuck in a row of bumper-to-bumper cars that crept along Decatur Street like a caravan of bone-weary camels, Jules Duchon barely fit behind the steering wheel of his very big Cadillac taxicab. Even with the seat pushed all the way back. Damn, he was hungry.’

This one I haven’t actually read, but I love the concept so much – a fat guy gets bitten by a vampire and returns to life as one of the undead, but still trapped in his obese body – that I bought the book. Still, I’m not holding my breath for it to be an enjoyable read (and besides, I couldn’t hold my breath for the time it takes to read a book, that’s just silly) because the reviewers are pretty split over how good it actually is.

Well, I suppose I will find out soon enough.

 

5. Joe Coffin Season One

Joe Coffin Season One Book Cover

Wait! What?

I put my own book on this list?

Too right I did. It’s my blog and I can do what the damn well hell I feel like. Or something.

Anyway, before you get your knickers in a twist or your pantyhose in a tangle, let me remind you this post is called 5 Vampire Novels for your Consideration, not The 5 Best Vampire Novels Ever Written, or some such nonsense.

And you can’t even accuse me of trying to sell you my book, because you can get it free right here.

So stop looking at me like that will ya?

Anyway, most likely you’ve already read the Joe Coffin books, and I don’t need to tell you about the vampires and the gangsters, and how it’s all set in the UK and filled with British snarky dialogue and smart comments, and sex and violence. And I don’t need to explain that there are no glittery vampires here mooning over their good looks and sex appeal.

Which gets me thinking, how the hell do those vampires keep themselves looking so beautifully turned out when they can’t actually see themselves in a mirror?

Whatever. I’m sure there’re more important things to be worrying about. I just can’t remember what they are.

Hello? Is anyone still here?

 

6. Caxton Tempest at the End of the World

Caxton Tempest at the End of the World Book Cover

Hang on! Anyone would think I had lost the ability to count. But that’s not true, especially as we are still in single figures. (As soon as I’ve used up all my fingers that’s when I start to get lost, and I just can’t be bothered to take my socks off.) So yes, I do realise I have just placed a sixth entry in a list of five. And, not only that but also, it’s another one of my books.

Good grief, has this man got no shame? Or sense?

Now that you ask, to be honest, no I haven’t.

But that’s a post for another day as, right now, I want to tell you about Caxton Tempest.

This is one of my books that kind of gets ignored and forgotten about by a lot of people. I feel sorry for it. It’s like Brad Pitt had an ugly, mutated little brother who sprayed everyone with thick, sticky saliva every time he spoke and stuffed his hands down his trousers and scratched his arse in public. That’s right, if you were Brad Pitt you’d do your best to forget your kid brother too, right?

But Caxton Tempest at the End of the World isn’t like that. He’s potty trained and everything.

Caxton Tempest at the End of the World has a Victorian adventurer/sleuth on the trail of a vicious murderer, and it’s got vampires and demons and lots of gory action. And some martial arts. And a cowboy. Actually she’s a female cowboy, so what does that make her? A cowgirl?

Anyway, whatever.

There you go, folks. Five Vampire novels for your consideration. Except there are six. And two of them are mine. And two of them are not very good. And one of them I haven’t read yet.

You know, something tells me this blog post isn’t one of my best.

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Showing 10 comments
  • Susan E Aceto
    Reply

    Salem’s Lot is one of my all time favorite. Stephen King is up there too. Enjoyed Joe Coffin Season One as well. Keep up the tempo, Bro:)

    • Ken Preston
      Reply

      Thanks! I will do my best!

  • Cheryl I Hurzeler
    Reply

    Well I don’t read comics and a lot of movies are over-rated ( the book is always better) so to books. I read and enjoyed Salems Lot years ago but not something I’d re-read. I really liked Joe Coffin. To me he fell in line with some of Anne Rices versions of what vampires are. Pretty serious stuff. Although I have to say that Joe is a lot more entertaining than Lestat or Queen of the Damned. And I have a lot of her books. Joe Coffin is a book I will re-read.
    And your blog? It’s fun. Like the nutty professor fun? Do I know you well enough to say that?

    • Ken Preston
      Reply

      Wow, thank you! Some amazing comparisons with other authors there. And yes, nutty professor fun sounds about right for this blog.

  • Iain
    Reply

    Very dry and amusing blog, this one, Mr P. As for your shame, there is a world shortage at present, as it’s all been heaped onto Cruella herself, in her final hours of power, so that explains that.

    As for two of your books being there, I’ve read Joe and he is a right ripsnorter of a read, to be sure. Huge fun and immensely entertaining. Having two of yours makes up for the dreck that is the Histor….zzzzzz…huh? whuzzzuh? Damn! It happened AGAIN! Every time I think about that damned book I get ssssssszzzzzzzz…..ouch! You get the picture? Yep. Narcolepsy as a form of vampirism, spread by touching a damned boo…. ah! No! Not this time, Ms Kostova, you ancient and evil High Queen of slumbering somnambulists! Quick! While she is restrained, pass the stake! What the…? Moron. S-t-A-k-E, you pillock! The hell with it! Eat possible CJD, and DIE, you hackneyed old harpy! Bwa-haha-HAHAHAHA!

    Back on the meds, everything is fine again. Glowing around the edges, but fiiiiiiine.

    Your tomes are worth two of hers, Mr P, at the very least!

    • Ken Preston
      Reply

      Hahaha!! I’m not quite sure what I read there! But it sounded great, and you said some very nice things about me. So thank you!

  • Mark Lucas-Taylor
    Reply

    I confess to really enjoying “Interview with a Vampire” by Anne Rice. I’ve bought and read most, if not all, of her vampire novels and whilst some were merely “mehh!” whilst others were a lot better I did find them all absorbing.
    A few of the others that you didn’t mention surprisingly were, in no particular order;
    Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”,
    Richard Matheson’s “I am Legend” (which in my opinion has still not been filmed in a way that does it justice),
    J Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla”,
    “Nosferatu”,
    and the couple of short vampire stories by Saki.

    • Ken Preston
      Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Mark. I’ve never actually read any Anne Rice, which obviously is something I need to correct at the earliest opportunity.

  • Blaine Davis
    Reply

    Love this blog, Ken. It’s been many years since I read Salem’s Lot and my memory of the details is foggy. But I’m a huge King fan and I mostly agree with your assessment of some of his other books. I read Dracula when I was a very young and I judge most vampire books by that standard. I do love humour thrown in so Christopher Moore (author from my hometown of San Francisco) has a hilarious Vampire trilogy starting with “Bloodsucking Fiends – A Love Story” which I absolutely adored. Much as I loved season one of Joe Coffin. I bought season two as soon as I finished it but haven’t started it yet. I reviewed season one on Amazon and Good reads. (spoiler alert – it is GORETASTIC!) Hope this is the start of a long & rewarding (for us both) author/fan relationship. Keep up the great work! (PS – I’m already on your email list so don’t add me again – I hate getting double emails – thank you)

    • Ken Preston
      Reply

      Hi Blaine, thank you for your comments, and I’m so pleased you are enjoying Joe Coffin.
      Salem’s Lot is still one of my favourites of King’s. My 13 year old wants to read it but I’m kind of holding off at the moment. Not sure why, as he keeps telling me he knows all about sex and he hears swearing every day at school. But still….he’s my little boy!
      Yes, I also hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship (as Humphrey Bogart once said) and don’t worry, I never add anyone to my email list unless they ask me to.
      Thanks for the Moore recommendation too. I’ll check him out.

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