Review of Vampire$ by John Steakley

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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3 thoughts to “Review of Vampire$ by John Steakley”

  1. I have now requested both of Steakley’s books from the library. At this rate I will NEVER finish The Count of Monte Cristo. Though, to be fair, if it had vampires OR insectoid aliens to fight, I am sure I’d have finished long ago. The French revolution, vengeance, and jewels just can’t compete somehow. :-D

  2. Blackstone has made Steakley books as iPhone apps too. FWIW they don’t cost as much as the iTunes Store audiobook but it seems to be the exact same recording and quality as the books I’ve downlaoded. I think I paid $10 for the Armor app and it has a nice little player (it doesn’t use the iPod app) and comes with a little bit of bio material on Steakley and a few other things. The extra parts didn’t amount to much and it would have been cool if there maybe was some fan art or other way for fans to contribute to the app. Hey Blackstone are you listening? I got a little pissed when I realized how big the app was and that AT&T ouldn’t let it download so I had to wait until my phone was connected before it would. But then I got over it. The recording is great though and I’m just realizing that I should have typed all this in the Armor posting but oh well. I went from that one to this one and just thought to tell you about the app. So shoot me.

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