California resident Prouty’s debut novel will stoke the interest of Dracula lovers everywhere.
Joseph Barkeley seems like an ordinary guy leading an uneventful life. He owns a used bookstore in Chicago and is an expert in authenticating manuscripts. One day, he is offered a great deal of money to locate missing parts of Bram Stoker’s original Dracula manuscript, an assignment that takes him to Romania, where he and his brother had been orphaned. The yoke of communism has been lifted, and underneath remains a countryside that is still fearful of vampires and the undead. Although Barkeley knows Stoker’s novel is fiction, it turns out to be more factual than he might have expected. Soon, a vampire is out to get him. Barkeley, a Christian, wears a crucifix, but that may not be enough to save him. Prouty offers vivid descriptions of ancient castles and graveyards. The prose is prim and never off-color, sprinkled with Romanian phrases to add exotic flavor to the conversations. Expect some violence—what’s a vampire novel without a few impaled bodies?—but it’s not especially graphic. And forget about sex, except for brief mention of a marital coupling in the privacy of a crypt. As for Barkeley, he blushes at the thought of a pretty woman being attracted to him. In all, a fun read, well-plotted but with no stunning revelations.
An obvious choice for fans of Dracula and Frankenstein and for anyone whose reading tastes extend into the realm of superstition.