Review of Vampire$ by John Steakley

June 13, 2010
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Review

Horror Audiobook - Vampire$ by John SteakleySFFaudio EssentialVampire$
By John Steakley; Read by Tom Weiner
10 CDs – Approx. 10 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2010
ISBN: 1441727213
Themes: / Horror / Vampires / Religion / Catholicism / Mercenaries /

Suppose there really were vampires. Dark, stalking, destroying. They’d have to be killed, wouldn’t they? Of course they would. But what kind of fools would try to make a living at it? In best-selling author John Steakley’s vampire classic, one tightly knit band of brothers devotes itself to hunting down the monsters that infest the modern world—for a price. An exciting blend of horror and western genres, Vampire$ is a twenty-first-century Ghostbusters with an edge.

I first found out about John Steakley when watching John Carpenter’s Vampire$. The on screen accreditation didn’t mean much then. I figured that what goodness was found in that movie came from Carpenter. And that’s largely true. Their rather different in plot, or at least in the way the plot plots out. Its clear that John Steakey’s novel served more as the inspiration than a blueprint for the movie. The novel feels much richer, much wider, and also much more personal, than Carpenter’s version.

Now, having read this audiobook after John Steakley’s other novel, Armor |READ OUR REVIEW|, I’ve come to the conclusion that Steakley has a pattern or two. First up there’s the name thing. Two names are recycled from Armor (even though they aren’t the same characters). Felix, the gunslinger (and ex-drug trafficker) has an important role in Vampire$. Jack Crow, the lead vampire hunter, is arguably the main protagonist. Armor, which is set maybe a thousand years in the future, has two characters with those exact names too, and they play similar importance in the plot. This is a novel full of twists and turns that even a fan of the movie based on the novel can be surprised by Similarwise, the emotional impact is the primacy of the novel’s power. Sure, this novel has maybe a few innovations I’ve never read before:

1. God is real AND vampires are too.
2. A team of mercenaries, with pure hearts, are taking cash for cleaning up vampire infested towns.
3. The anti-vamp mercs are in league with the Pope and the Vatican, who know and support their efforts.

Narrator Tom Weiner gets to play a fairly wide range of characters. On top of the brooding Felix and the unstoppable Jack Crow he’s got a compassionate pope, an irate Texas sheriff, and a bloodsucking vampire (or two) too.

This is a case where a good movie was based on an very good novel and a good novel got made into a great audiobook. Vampire$ is an emotionally impactive audiobook that surprises with its innovate approach to an old foe: those old evil vampires fucks that you gotta love, and Jack Crow’s gotta hate.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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