Scully’s first novel finds her immersed in the pages of a vampire’s memoirs.
True-crime author Elle Bramasol is asked to write the story of Eliot Kingman, a movie director and producer currently residing in prison for murder. The death-obsessed Kingman avoids discussing the fatal stabbing for which he was convicted, instead allowing Elle access to a journal. The diary was penned by a man named Verland who, in 1870, was bitten by a vampire. As she follows Verland’s story from Europe to the States, Elle is lured into the world of a man who feels cursed by what others want: immortality. Scully’s debut is a breath of fresh air for the vampire genre. She abandons the popular teenage vampire romance in favor of an old-school gothic approach. Verland’s diary overtakes the novel; its elegant style and 19th-century flare provide a noticeable contrast to the main narrative. Perhaps most significantly, as the stories slowly converge, the journal seems more real as Elle’s life becomes more fantastical, cleverly fusing timelines without compromising the diary’s gothic quality. Likewise refreshing is the treatment of vampirism as a disease. It’s fascinating to watch Verland adapt to his condition: testing his endurance without blood, his healing properties and his tolerance to sunlight. The vampiric protagonist is provided fervent supporting characters, including his lover Kazamira and his friend Gideon, both of whom are also bloodsuckers. The leading lady has her own love interest, homicide detective Gary, but he’s not as diverting as Sam and his parrot Maxine, who possesses a deep love of good grammar.
A perfect blend of contemporary and old-fashioned vampire tales, infused with a bounty of panache.