Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Reviews from the 86th Floor: Book Reviews by Barry Reese

DRACULA LIVES by Joshua Reynolds
ISBN 978-1452817453

This is one odd book -- while the cover and title would lead you to assume you're about to embark on a Hammer Horror-style vampire story, most of the book is actually an homage to classic spy novels. The main character, Mr. Cream, is hired to locate and acquire a casket that he eventually learns contains the remains of Dracula. I'll be up front and say that espionage novels are not generally my cup of tea. I've read the original James Bond stories and found them to be a bore. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. does not intrigue me. So Josh was attempting to mesh a genre that I don't care about (espionage) with one that I do (horror).

Cream comes across as a very vividly described character and the author does a tremendous job of conveying who this individual is and how he behaves. Cream is so well defined that the reader feels like they can predict how he will behave in different situations, which is a credit to the author.

The strength of the story -- and the greatest weakness -- comes from the fact that the book is dialogue driven. When this works, the playful back and forth between characters seems like an elaborate verbal dance. Unfortunately, there are times in the book where it feels like one talking heads piece after another, occasionally broken by someone getting shot. Even during some scenes that I was enjoying, it was in the back of my head that I was growing a bit weary of people sitting in chairs, facing one another, showing me how clever they can be.

This is the first book in a proposed trilogy and I found the first book interesting enough to be curious where it will go from here but I did find it a flawed work.

I give it a 3 out of 5.