Sunday, September 7, 2008

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DARK THIRST various authors

various authors
Pocket Books Fiction

I have read a hell of a lot of vampire books and a lot of them, to be perfectly honest, are terrible. But I am always interested in seeing if someone can breathe new death into the old vampire cliches. 'Dark Thirst' is a collection of stories by African American writers, some of them established romance writers. Although this is not a romance anthology it certain does have more than a pinch of romance and a large dollop of erotica.

My favorite story was 'The Family Business' by Kevin S. Brockenbrough. This story basically drags the vampires and werewolves up to date by writing a rapid fire, action-filled story. The author also slides in a point about the true nature of monsters.

A close second would be 'The Ultimate Diet' by Monica Jackson which riffs on the Buffyesque vampire cliches. Jackson's story has a couple or truly delicious characters who drift palpably apart with the arrival of a vampire in the neighbour. The ending is telegraphed way in advance but the execution is pitch perfect and highly entertaining.

These two great tales bookend four other stories that were fun enough at the time but difficult to remember in retrospect. 'Vamp Noir' by Angela C. Allen throws together a gorgeous vampire vixen and the mafia, but an idea that seems promising at the outset never quite gels. 'Human Heat' by the Urban Griot is about a gorgeous man who becomes a vampire, has some sex, and kills some people (I found italicised sound effects like Uurrgghh!, Eeeaarrrkkkk! and Blooommm! impossible to take seriously). 'Whispers During Still Moments' by Linda Addison is about a gorgeous vampire who is hunted by a half-vampire. 'The Touch' by Donna Hill is a nice enough but unsubtle story about a gorgeous vampire's quest to find redeeming love.

Overall I think this book is certainly worth the cover price as an addition to my extensive collection--but if all the stories had been as deft and diverse as my favorite two 'Dark Thirst' could have been astounding.

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