Somewhere along the way the vampires hired an incredible publicist. In the blink of a soulless eye, these bloodthirsty spawns of Satan have become the new media darlings by remaking themselves into a harmlessly hunky bunch of brooding night owls. Good for the vampires. But with Halloween lurking right around the darkened corner, you might be surprised to find yourself wishing that these pale heartthrobs would return – at least briefly – to their more evil ways. If so, have no fear, or actually, have a big, heaping bowl of fear because there are still plenty of blood-chilling books that capture the vampires in all their former undead glory. If you’re looking for laughs, romance, or Abe Lincoln, you’ve probably come to the wrong place. But if you’re in the mood for some serious seasonal spookiness, check out the following terrifying reads for all the spooky you can handle:
American Vampire by Scott Snyder, Stephen King, & Rafael Albuquerque – First King brought us the vampire classic Salem’s Lot, and now he unleashes a fierce new breed of fanged fiend in this violent graphic novel. In 1880’s Colorado, the notorious outlaw Skinner Sweet is en route to his execution when he becomes the first vampire conceived on American soil. Cunning and ruthless, Sweet is an instant enemy of the ancient European vampires who are jealous of his mutated ability to draw power from the sun. Flash forward to 1920’s Los Angeles where Sweet discovers the young Pearl Jones nearly dead in the desert after a torturous attack by the European bloodsuckers. After giving the former actress another chance at “life,” the two American vampires enact a merciless revenge on those who have wronged them.
Children of the Night by Dan Simmons – Years before Black Hills and Drood, Simmons scared fans silly with this updated tale of Lord Dracula. After American hematologist Kate Neuman adopts an orphaned infant from Romania, she is amazed to discover that the child’s unusual immune system might hold the key to curing cancer and AIDS. Unfortunately, Lord Dracula happens to be young Joshua’s father and has handpicked the baby to be the next vampire ruler. When Joshua is kidnapped by Dracula’s minions, the terror and tension rise as Dr. Neuman battles her way through a ghostly Romania to save him. If you like your horror with a dash of science, come see why this East Peoria native is a four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award.
Midnight Mass by F. Paul Wilson – From the creator of the popular “Repairman Jack” series comes this truly frightening tale of a bloody vampire invasion. After overrunning all of Europe and Asia, the multiplying vampire hordes have set their sights on the U.S. and hired “cowboys” to round up human cattle for their food supply. As New York City and the entire East Coast are ravaged by the undead invaders, Sister Carole Hanarty and her vampire killing posse prove to be humanity’s only hope for survival. Creepy, terrifying, and relentless.
The Passage by Justin Cronin – In this near-future apocalyptic epic, PEN/Hemingway Award-winner Cronin tells of a U.S. military experiment gone very, very wrong. A human-created, “super soldier” virus has gone awry and transformed most of humanity into scary-strong, nearly-immortal vampires. Looking to protect themselves from extinction, the few remaining uninfected humans make a terrifying cross-country trek to a supposed safe zone where a mysteriously ageless six-year-old girl seems to hold the key to their survival. A page turner despite its 700-page heft, this absorbing, action-packed story will scare your socks off with its vampire mayhem.
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan – The Oscar-winning director of Pan’s Labyrinth makes his fiction debut with this frightening first book in a new vampire trilogy. After nearly every passenger on a jumbo jet from Germany mysteriously dies on the JFK tarmac, CDC doctor Ephraim Goodweather braces for an outbreak of disease. To the doctor’s confused horror, however, the strange deaths are actually caused by nasty parasitic worms that slowly turn their hosts into bloodthirsty vampires, and he must attack the worms at their source before its too late for humankind. Dark, cinematic, and full of macabre touches, this book will virtually guarantee you a sleepless Halloween night. Also, don’t forget to check out The Fall, the trilogy’s second volume which was published just this month.
And if your thirst for vampire horror is still unquenched, you can always feast on the following:
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