A creepy aristocrat who recently arrived in town turns out to be a hungry vampire on the prowl in this debut horror yarn set in an unspecified Latin-American country.
A scary old estate called Isthamal hasn’t seen much activity in quite a long while. So when a silver-maned gentleman with mysterious Spanish roots suddenly takes up residence within its desolate walls, a watchful architect down the road named Rolando takes notice. It soon becomes clear that the new arrival is a vampire, or at the very least a very unsavory eccentric. Despite this, Rolando leaps at the chance to work with “The Count” on a promising new business venture. But soon, the architect’s wife, Sonia, starts having horrible nightmares about The Count, and a small band of impromptu vampire hunters, led by a student of the dark arts named Cosima, lops off her head, believing the beastly Count has transformed her into a vampire. D’Tejada is a talented writer with a facile prose style (“the artist had captured a look in which she could detect a mixture of cruelty and arrogance”). However, the characters in his underdeveloped universe curiously regard vampirism as an alien concept that requires the services of occult experts to understand. For example, horribly withered corpses, drained of blood and displaying telltale puncture marks on their necks, soon start popping up, which spurs local law enforcement into action—but these sheltered constables, as well as Cosima’s crew, seem oblivious to the obvious supernatural signs. Soon, the noose quickly begins to close around the distinctly coiffed Count’s neck when the cops call in the services of a police sketch artist. But will they catch The Count? An anticlimactic, ambiguous ending (“The End Or The Beginning Of A Tale Of The Vampire”) seems like an overeager, rather than ominous, declaration of things to come.
A sometimes-engaging horror tale, hampered by an undercooked plot.