Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot (1976) or Anne Rice’s whole sick crew were the last word in vampirism? Not so. Strieber’s The Hunger (1981) carried the cultural anthropology of vampires to a shrewd new level by accenting the medical readout on the undead.
Now Strieber’s back, and his new big sheaf of medical charts looks bad for Stoker’s children. The CIA is sweeping the planet clean and out to kill The Last Vampire in this flowing, sexy, intellectually rousing sequel to The Hunger, gorgeously filmed in 1983 with Catherine Deneuve as 3000-year-old Miriam Blaylock, who showed Miriam losing victim/lover John to sudden aging and then turning gerontologist Sarah Roberts into her lesbian lover. Together now, the two women run a veiled and exquisitely gross club for fallen souls in Manhattan. Attending an Asian vampire conclave held once a century in the Thai city of Chiang Mai, Miriam finds the enclave wiped out and the revered Book of Names, which holds the histories of all vampires ever, eaten to bits by roaches. Are other enclaves now meeting secretly around the world also compromised? Master vampire killer Paul Ward, a woman-worshipping, opium-loving CIA agent on special vampire-slaying duty, his self-amused big mouth as lowbrow as Tony Soprano’s, just loves to bust bloodsucker skulls with his .375 Magnum. Years ago a vampire killed his father. Now the CIA has cracked the Book of Names code and learned that Miriam is the last vampire capable of reproducing a true vampire. But with whom can she mate? Even though Miriam likes sex with succulent humans, cross-species mating won’t take. And she’s not much to look at when Ward—who moves superhumanly—tracks her down in Paris, where she’s survived a severe burning but is now bald and scorched. Nonetheless, at their first face-to-face meeting, her egg thrills for his sperm. When at last they bed down in Miriam’s Manhattan club, it’s Tony and Cleo lusting in Egypt, demon lovers, their tiger tongues locked.
Bloodkisses suprême. A deliriously meaty cultural anthropology, sickening and delicious. Guzzle a real drink, Anne Rice. Calling Catherine Deneuve!