Dracula meets 60 Minutes in this portentous horror novel from a former 60 Minutes producer (War Torn, 2003, etc.).
The story begins with the recently engaged Evangeline Harker, an associate producer with the TV news show The Hour, arriving in Romania to check out Ion Torgu, reputed organized-crime boss of Eastern Europe, for a possible interview. In Bucharest, Evangeline meets another young American, Clemmie Spence, a purported missionary who actually works for an organization fighting Satanism. The women travel to Transylvania, where Evangeline meets Torgu; he drives her to a spooky hotel in the woods. More vampire than crime boss, he has round, hideously discolored teeth (not fangs), a serrated knife and two accomplices who have murdered a Norwegian cameraman; Evangeline will come upon Torgu drinking blood. She escapes and reunites with Clemmie, but by now, Evangeline has grown “a dark, new self,” which she appeases by slitting Clemmie’s throat and drinking her blood. So much for the Romanian segments; the story’s other half, overcrowded with characters, takes place in the offices of The Hour in New York, and is told through emails and journal entries of its employees. Torgu manages to infect the office. Editors sicken from a wasting disease; some staff members die; others display odd behavior. Allegiances shift in puzzling ways; a former friend of Evangeline becomes Torgu’s slave, while the lady herself (now back in New York) seems unsure whether to kill her fiancé or make love to him. Torgu makes his own appearance at the office as the scene dissolves into chaos.
A disappointment for horror fans; though Romania provides good, scary fun, the New York scenes are a mess.