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Bump In The Night- A Review – PART ONE Vampires

May 14, 2009

Vampires, Zombies and Other things that go BUMP IN THE NIGHT

Drollerie Press has made me a happy happy girl. As they are prone to do with their delightful tales of Transformation and Myth.

In case I haven’t previously made myself clear beyond the shadow of a doubt (or you’re new here, in which case, HI there!), I. LOVE. Dark Fantasy. Reading it, writing it, watching it on T-Bowe’s big ass screen.

In short: It COMPLETES me.

So when Drollerie Press held an event, either last month or the month before, giving their loyal readers a chance to download a Sneak Peek of Bump In The Night, their new Dark Fantasy/Horror release, I knew I was sealing my fate when I clicked the big red shiny button. (Ok, ok, the button was neither big, nor red, nor shiny but work with me a little.)

The three short stories included in the sneak peek had me HOOKED. I needed the rest of the supply, and soon, BookJunkie that I am. I was so dismayed that Joely’s fabled and much talked about Zombie Love Story wasn’t included in the sneak peek but I knew that I would be getting the Antho as soon as I could got my hands on some cash.

As luck and tremendous generosity would have it, I got Bump In The Night a lot quicker than I thought I would. Fortunate I am that Ms. Fisher has liked my reviews thus far. I’d like to take a moment to thank both Joely Sue Burkhart and Ms. Fisher for the opportunity to review Bump In the Night. It is my favorite Anthology thus far and I hope that Drollerie will produce more Dark fantasy Anthos in the future.

(We Can Haz Werewolves next time, maybe, pretty pwease with sugar on top?)

Ahem, on to the review.

To serve as a Blurb, I will use a snippet from the DP website announcing Bump In The Night’s Release (go here to read full post):

We have an amazing line-up of authors. Tim Mulcahy’s story, “Monday Night at the Vampire Lounge” has been joined by two other Paul Altimari stories.  Connie Neil provided us with another story about her vampire nun, Heather Ingemar provided two stories, one a vampire and one zombie tale, and Joely Sue Burkhart actually pulled off a zombie romance.  I didn’t believe anyone could do it when she took up the gauntlet during chat, but I should have realized–if anyone could do it, Joely most certainly could.  Tim’s zombies aren’t too shabby either, with some definite zombie/vampire flirtation going on. Heather’s poor zombie, however, was unable to do more than yearn from afar.

Each section is dedicated to a particular monster, and ends with Tim’s former cop, who finds himself in a truly bizarre situation, and every time it gets a little weirder.

There are quite a bit more stories in Bump in The Night than there were in StereoOpticon. This is by no means a complaint. But, as not to make this THE POST THAT WOULD NOT DIE FOR THE STORIES OF THE UNDEAD, (for that would be far too ironic even for I) I’ve decided to do them in three part increments as they appear in Bump In The Night.

Part One for Vampires (the current post), Part Two for Zombies (read here) and Part Three for Ghosts (read here). Oh my!

Now, let us get to those Regal Bloodsuckers of the Night…

Note: These were either written directly after I read the story of each title, or while I was reading it (because I had to either make note of something I fear I might have forgotten otherwise). I didn’t think it was possible, but I enjoyed them all. Though I admit whole heartedly that I enjoyed them to varying degrees and some a lot more than others.

However, in the interest of other readers, I’ve done my best to portray an objective opinion regarding each title here. By giving each story its due without curry-favoring. I hope that I accomplished this, but know that I am human and prone to error-and damnit not all stories are created equal. I have a hard time curbing my enthusiasm for stories that really make my heart sing. So, it’s quite possible that said enthusiasm will shine out through the reviews of my very favorites.

Also, keep in mind, I’m by no means a “professional reviewer”. I do this for fun and for the love of good stories.

Shepherd to the Wolves by Connie Neil

I read this one when I got a free download of the Sneak Peek during Drolleries Giveaway a month or two ago. I remember being so enthralled with the story, the characters, the themes. Oh, the themes. Redemption, Tolerance, Actions Done For The Greater Good, War. These are a few of my very favorite themes. 😉

I adored this story so much when I read it, and now, second time through, I find I’m just as enthralled by it as I was the first time. It’s a beautifully written character study. Lydia is a vampire nun and her story is a tragic one, but she rises above it and chooses to become a better person than the circumstances in life have decided to make out of her. She’s the type of heroine I love to read about, and is the epitome of everything I find so fascinating with Vampires. Loved that Ms. Neil thought to give her reasons to live the hard life that Lydia was forced in to. I also liked the character of Father Brian, which I didn’t expect I would. It speaks well to Ms. Neil’s talent for characterization. I sensed a subtle romantic undertone that I’m not sure was intended (as you are all well aware by now, I am quite capable of making such leaps about these things) by Ms. Neil, but if that’s something you enjoy, (especially when said romantic interests are unconventional) then I would definitely recommend reading Shepherd to the Wolves.

I really could devote a whole review to this story alone, as I have nothing but good things to say about it. I especially admire that it manages to be dark and gritty without losing its charm. An excellent read and a perfect story to kick off the Antho!

Oh actually, in the sense of objectivity, there was one scene that I noticed had head hopping. But that’s not something that puts me off, and even if it were, it was hardly noticeable here and did not last long. I think it was, in fact, necessary for that particular scene.

Accused by Heather S. Ingemar

Oh, goodie! I was looking forward to reading more of Ms. Ingemar’s work after enjoying The Dream-Drinker so much in StereoOpticon: Stories in Split Vision (You can read what I had to say about it here, and pick up a copy of StereoOpticon here)

Accused, as said to be in the intro, is the story of a Half Vampire living in a rural human society until bigotry rears its ugly head. Being someone who is absolutely appalled by Bigotry of any kind, I found it very easy to identify with Ingemar’s Vampire, Nick and his wife Val, who sticks by him when the going gets tough. Loyalty being something I admire, especially when it comes to significant others.

I really enjoyed the sweet banter between them throughout the otherwise tense witch hunt.  Also liked that Ingemar seemed to have done her research on guns, unless she has personal knowledge of them herself. Either way, her coolness factor was just upped.Val got cooler with every line, I liked that she wasn’t afraid to get crass if it meant saving her Husband’s dignity.

An entertainning read, I enjoyed it very much. Though Ms. Ingemar? If you happen to pop by here again, I have one or two questions I’d like to ask in regards to what might be considered a spoiler that I don’t want to make mention of here. 🙂

Bone China by John Hornor Jacobs

The title for this had me intrigued when I scanned the ToC and I became even more so by the fact that the women seemed realistic to me. At least, more realistic to me than most male authors manage to accomplish.

If Mr. Jacobs is in fact a he, and not a she using a pen name, I’m kind of impressed. I don’t often find male authors who don’t make me roll my eyes at least five times by something their female characters have said or done. Though to be honest and fair, I often find myself reacting the same way when I see a female author writing men unrealistically and am equally impressed by those who get it right. Not too shabby though, Mr. Jacobs. I did snerk a little at the-ah bath scene, but other than that I have no real quarrel.

I liked that he tried to take his vampires in another direction. Not all were regal, or slim, or terribly tall as is the norm, or even all that powerful. Mr. Jacob’s Vampires KNOW their limitations and do not act as if they are all powerful. In fact…they are vulnerable. That makes them interesting. Forgot to mention first time this was posted but, I did like Victoria’s character. Renie, the only focal human character is also intriguing. I kept wondering how she came to be under Victoria’s employ.

If Mr. Jacobs doesn’t hate me enough for questioning his manhood maybe he wouldn’t mind answering.  😉

Lydie by Connie Neil

You have no idea how thrilled I am to find another story featuring the Vampire Nun, Lydia. I hope Ms. Neil may do more with her, she’s a very engaging character. Not only that but I just love Neil’s voice. This is a prequel to Shepherd to the Wolves and the intro makes note that, “Reading Lydie after Shepherd to the Wolves transforms the character of Lydia as you know her. Reading the prequel first completely loses that effect.” I can’t rightfully say if the last part of that statement is true, since I did in fact read Shepherd to the Wolves first, but reading Lydie afterward certainly did transform the character for me, as only a past life can.

If anything, Lydie is even darker and more gritty than Shepherd to the Wolves and I love it for that very reason. Lydie’s former master is a real piece of work and it just broke my heart to see Lydie’s “fall from grace” as it were. I got choked up quite a bit while reading. Powerful stuff. But just as before, as her fall is tragic, so is her triumph made all the more wonderful. Add Sister Heloise as another character of hers I liked. I give away no spoilers, but I’m thoroughly pleased with what Ms. Neil did with her character.

Ms. Neil delivers another great read. Usually it only takes two good reads for me to think of an Author’s other works as “MUST READ”‘s. I’m easily pleased. I can’t find her website though (if she even has one *sob* ) but if she has any other works out or gets new releases in the future, I will definitely be looking out for them.

The Beasts of Hal’ai Village by Jason Bickerstaff

Yeeeees. I think I mentioned I like war stories, ya? Or at least, stories with war and soldiers in them. Especially if those soldiers are MARINES!

I love me some Marines and some Marine banter. Never shying away from the use of the ah- “Queen’s English” as I like to call it (to clarify, by Queen’s English, I mean terms like “fuck” and “damn” and so on and so forth, and I only clarify because I make a point about something later that might be confusing if this goes unsaid). Jason Bickerstaff mostly gets it right and that’s a big plus for me. I especially liked the character of Sarge, as of course, he got the best lines of dialogue.

And Bickerstaff’s dialogue had me chuckling, in the good way.  He’s got an ear for it. Once or twice, I did think it was out of place, (and had to wonder why U.S. MARINES’s are using terms like ‘bollocks’ and ‘bloody hell’, which are decidedly British terms? ) it was not enough to deter me though.

And I’m loving that, with each story, the authors experiment with Vampire mythos, taking them in new and interesting directions. Bickerstaff’s were interesting and…grotesque. This was the first one that really screamed HORROR to me. I can’t watch Horror without being reduced to a pile of whimpers and shakes but reading is a little easier. But damned if I didn’t get chilled and short of breath reading this. Very entertaining read.

Dead Love by Nick Santa Rosa

I did like the first few encounters between Veronica and Evan. The cat and mouse “chase” -so to speak. I also liked that she did the initial seducing, too. There is quite a bit of Erotica packed in this story, (Not a complaint here)  which focused on both partners and the ways in which they reached their-ah-peaks. Which I liked and was glad the writer didn’t just pay attention to the MMC’s needs.

The resolution seemed too…easy after the first blow out. But, granted, that’s not “the point of this story”, so I’m willing to overlook it. And I did wonder over some technical bits at the erotic points in the story. (For instance, me being a chick and all, I know there to be only one of two ways a woman’s nipples get hard a) it being really cold at the time and b) it being really “hot” at the time. So, if the character isn’t turned on, but her nipples are hard and there hasn’t been an air conditioning or fan or snow reference of some kind, am I missing something? Feel free to correct me on this… ) But still a fun read and an interesting character study. The more Evan falls for Veronica…the more he’s estranged from everyone else.

Monday Night At The Vampire Lounge by Tim Mulcahy

This was another one that was offered in the Initial Sneak peek and I loved it. Apparently, he’s got two more connecting stories in both the Zombie and Ghost section of the Antho that I’m now dieing to read. Paul is one interesting guy who comes into contact with some very interesting people who just happen to turn his life just a little more interesting. 😉 Chock full of things I love, murder mystery, bars, a somewhat unconventional relationship, and lots of great dialogue and interaction. I liked that Mulcahy used “imprinting” and I ended up adoring Linda’s character. Something I wasn’t expecting but that Tim Mulcahy pulled off by making her so snarky in the last few scenes. No, bad reader, no spoilers for you.

I’m dieing to read the next in the “series” so to speak. Tomorrow, defiantly the plan.

———-

Thus concludes the Vampire portion of this decidedly wickedly delightful Anthology. As a Dark Fantasy fan, I so hit the jackpot. Stick around for parts two and three where we get to Zombies and Ghosts!

If you liked and/or are intrigued by what I’ve had to say thus far, I urge you to head on over to Drollerie Press and pick yourself up a copy. You’ll be glad you did!


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10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2009 9:14 am

    Thanks for the review. I linked to it from my blog.

    I am, in fact, a man. At least the last time I checked, which I try to do every day. Hold on.

    Yep. A dude.

    Anywho, thanks.

  2. Soleil Noir permalink*
    May 14, 2009 9:57 am

    John- *ggg* Thank you kindly for linking.

  3. Tim Mulcahy permalink
    May 14, 2009 9:32 pm

    Thank you for the review. I hope you like the rest of the stories.

  4. Soleil Noir permalink*
    May 14, 2009 9:40 pm

    Tim- You’re most welcome, thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  5. May 16, 2009 2:19 pm

    Thank you again for the lovely review!

    I am actually a firearms enthusiast, so I guess you could say I’ve done my research… 😉

    As for the questions: I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you have. 🙂 In the interests of spoiler secrecy, just email me privately… ingemarwrites AT yahoo DOT com. 🙂

    Have a great weekend,
    Heather Ingemar

  6. May 20, 2009 10:16 am

    Ah…I see you’ve asked me a very weighty question.

    She put an advert in the paper that read, “Wanted, young female, 18-35, to be a daytime guard for a vampire. The right candidate will be unfailingly loyal, willing to kill in the service of her master, and offer her own blood as a food source. Interior decorating and flower arrangement skills are a plus. Salary 50k+ to start. Great benefits! Life in a mansion among priceless relics and the promise of eternal life.”

    Honestly, I have no idea how she got Renie.

    In my mind, Victoria would recruit from where vampires usually recruit from, the bottom of the barrel. Drug rehabs, mental institutions (which fits Renie a bit better), homeless and battered women’s shelters – luring her servants away with the promise of a good life, surrounded by luxury, steady pay, and isolation. Some people actually prefer it that way, but they’re crazy and tend to fall in the thrall of vampires.

Trackbacks

  1. Bump In The Night – A Review- PART TWO Zombies « Beyond the Invisible
  2. Bump In The Night- A Review – Part Three Ghosts « Beyond the Invisible
  3. review of ‘accused’ in ‘bump in the night’ « Heather S. Ingemar Writes…
  4. Bump In The Night | Drollerie Press

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