Vampires run rampant in Gavin’s debut supernatural thriller.
Teenager Sarah Englemann finds her life in 1913 Salem, Mass., turned upside down with the murder of a classmate—and his reappearance as a feral vampire. Drawn into an underworld of the occult, Sarah, with the help of her friends and a new classmate (a mysterious Greek named Alexandros Palaogos), must confront the forces of darkness in their town. These forces include Parris, a local pastor who is secretly a warlock, and an ancient, mysterious demon named Al-Nasir—together they search for Gabriel’s Horn, an instrument designed to bring about the end of the world. The teenagers struggle to stop their enemies in time, and they try to understand Sarah’s mysterious connection to Gabriel’s Horn. Before Sarah’s battle against the forces of darkness is over, there will be blood spilled, questions asked over who can actually be trusted, trips taken to other dimensions and all will be touched by tragedy. Gavin struggles early in the book, relying on awkward analogies that distract from the narrative flow, and veers into unnecessary explanations of the story’s events. But he finds his footing and these rough spots quickly even out as the author’s prose becomes clear and he gleefully transforms a story of teenagers battling vampires into something much more. The story turns into a mash-up of Greco-Roman mythology, Judeo-Christian imagery and the occult, making it a fresh take on the overdone vampire genre. Gavin’s writing also hints at a wonderfully twisted sense of humor, notable in one early scene with the beheading of a vampire that quickly turns comical as the young protagonists add “vampire killing” to the already stressful load of puberty. The action throughout is fast-paced and compelling, and the ending hits the right note, a brutal turn of events that strongly hints at a sequel—an enticing prospect.
A vampire novel with actual bite.