Tuesday, June 8, 2010

HBIC Review: The Vampire Stories of Nancy Kilpatrick

Title: The Vampire Stories of Nancy Kilpatrick
Author: Nancy Kilpatrick
Page Count: 171 pages
Publisher: Mosaic Press
Genre: horror, paranormal/paranormal romance
Copy for review provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

50 words or less: Short shots of vampires in all their various incarnations. Creepy, weird, sexy, romantic, mysterious, crazy, scheming, brooding, you name it, it's here.

Whew! I just finished this story collection and I find myself much more impressed with this book. The plotting in each story was tight, I didn't see many of the twists coming, and the ideas and concepts presented were definitely unique and not ones I'd seen before.

Really good short stories can be hard to come by if for no other reason than that many of them leave something to be desired or would work better as novellas or full length novels. This author has her finger right on the pulse of what makes a short story works- we get enough information about characters to let our imaginations do the rest, but are not so bogged down that the story isn't interesting. We get novel settings and just enough world building to set the stage, but the action is really what makes each story work. We get vivid imagery- some lush, some romantic, some naughty, some gory, but vivid all the same.

We get all that and more in a few pages apiece.

Just like in any anthology, there were certain stories that I enjoyed more than others, but one thing that I did enjoy that was unique is that some of the stories were part of a small series, and they were all grouped together so that the overall arc was maintained. Here are some high points:

Passion Play, Theater of Cruelty, & Metadrama- three stories comprising the first segment of the book, this is the story of Cheryl and NightShade and is the story that Bloodsucker wants to be when it grows up. Creepy, gothic, and strangely romantic at the same time.

Dark Seduction- Scary vampire Armand thinks he's got the drop on major league ditz Karen. Oops...

In Memory Of...- Mrs. Bram Stoker reflects on her first love, Oscar Wilde. This was one of the most creative pieces in the anthology in my opinion.

All of the stories are different from one another, but these were the ones that stuck out as favorites to me.

I debated whether or not this book needed a Scandalous Books designation, and decided against it- although there are certainly some eyebrow raising parts here, there isn't anything that readers of other vampire stories or fans of the genre have not seen before. The nice thing about anthologies, too, is that if one story isn't your cup of tea (for example, The Hungry Living Dead wasn't really my thing and is pretty graphic, sexually speaking) you can just flip past it and read something else. Some of the stories are more in line with paranormal romance or romantica, some of them are more straightforward horror stories, but there is a lot of diversity represented in this relatively short anthology.

I think this author's area of strength is definitely in short stories, and fans of the paranormal genre or folks who think that Edward Cullen is a wiener and long for the days when vampires were terrifying and morose and solitary, thanks very much, will enjoy this collection of stories.

Overall Grade: B+
BWB Rating: 3/4


Anonymous said...

Sweet review...In Memory of was my favorite too, I thought some of the stories were pretty graphic butI actually liked it better than Bloodlover or even Evolve.

Melissa said...

I love short stories. This one really sounds like a great read. Thanks for the review!