In Dalzell’s debut supernatural thriller, a seemingly mundane case sends British private detective Jack Bone to the mysterious town of Wolfston, England, where he stumbles into a nest of vampires.
Detective Bone is an aging former cop–turned–private eye who’s hired to find out how a woolen mill in Wolfston has remained profitable. What he finds out stuns him: The mill, owned by Silas Laughton, runs 24 hours, seven days a week—manned by humans by day and by vampires (called the Nosferatu) at night. Laughton warns Bone that the Nosferatu’s existence must remain a secret; Bone can keep his life, he says, in return for not mentioning vampires to his client. During Bone’s next case, he crosses a Russian crime gang while looking into a human-smuggling ring. When his life is threatened by two thugs, Laughton’s vampire daughter, Mina, and her vampire friend Alice come to his rescue. Although it’s never entirely clear why the Nosferatu decide to help Bone, he teams up with them to stop the smuggling operation. Unfortunately, what might have been an engaging tale is undone by story elements that strain credulity. For example, readers may find it hard to fathom that vampires would work as laborers in a woolen mill or that an English town could house so many vampires unnoticed. Also, much of the violence in Dalzell’s novel seems gratuitous; readers can understand the gruesomeness of vampire killings without play-by-plays of ripped limbs and blood-splattered faces. The novel also isn’t very scary, perhaps due to the fact that there’s little mystery behind the creatures; most of the vampires in Wolfston seem to be relatively ordinary small-town folk. That said, Dalzell’s prose is solid, and he shows a particularly good knack for the crime genre. Bone, in particular, is an intriguing protagonist with depth and character. Perhaps in his next novel, the author might leave the vampires out.
A supernatural crime novel, with an engaging main character, that doesn’t live up to its potential.