Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fear the Woods, Book One: How to Make a Vampire, (Skullvines Press), by Jerrod Balzer

The dreaded "V" word. With the vamp market in the state that it is, many dyed in the wool horror fans will drop a book and run away, shrieking in horror the moment they see it on the cover. Worse still when it hangs beneath a bland and borderline cheeseball title. But those who run away from this book will be missing an entertaining little romp.

The forest surrounding Tapperville have a few issues that hikers and nature enthusiasts would do well to keep in mind. The most obvious are the angry locals and the serial killing whack-job wandering from house to house in the guise of a pizza delivery boy but there are much more subtle and sinister forces hiding among the trees. Be sure to watch your feet for the scurrying toes of a headless, undead gerbil and those limbs swaying against the breeze may very well be from a vampiric tree.

If you haven't guessed already, How to Make a Vampire does not take itself all that seriously. If you think of a slightly more restrained version of the Evil Dead 2 (which is directly referenced along with a Wizard of Floyd-style of viewing that I have to try some time) at one point, then you are on the right track. The whole story possesses that crazy "why not?" attitude that encapsulated some of the better cult films of the eighties. The result is a fast, fun read that has me hooked for the follow up.

The characterization is a tad thin and there is no real development of either plot or character to speak of. Of course, this is merely the first part of a serialized novel, so readers shouldn't expect more than they would get out of the first few chapters of a complete story.

Overall, How to Make a Vampire mixes a little bit of silliness in with its scares and it works fairly well, but impatient readers might be better off waiting until more is ready before jumping in.

Visit http://jerrodbalzer.com/. Buy the print version or Kindle version today.

Anton Cancre is one of those rotting, pus-filled thingies on the underside of humanity that your mother always warned you about. He has oozed symbolic word-farms onto the pages of Shroud, Sex and Murder and Horrorbound magazines as well as The Terror at Miskatonic Falls, an upcoming poetry anthology by Shroud Publishing and continues to vomit his oh-so-astute literary opinions, random thoughts and nonsense at antoncancre.blogspot.com. No, he won't babysit you pet shoggoth this weekend. Stop asking.

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