The Return of Badass Vamps: A Review of All the Darkness in the World by Andy Deane

I’m writing this review today as a former lover of all things vampiric.  As a kid, I was a whore for anything that had to do with vampires. Books, movies—I drew pictures. The biggest fight that I ever had with my mother was over going to see The Lost Boys at the tender age of 12.  But lately I’ve been disheartened with the whole vampire genre.  And though I’m notorious for blaming Twilight,  of course it didn’t start there.  Twilight was just an inevitable  end that was started by Anne Rice,  “Forever Knight,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and “Angel.”  Of course pop culture has never had trouble making vampires sympathetic characters.  They’re sexy and tortured, what’s not to love?  But lately we’ve taken it to the next level.  The kinder, gentler vamp has wormed his way into the mainstream and frankly… it pisses me off.  Who the hell decided that vampires didn’t actually need to drink blood?  Or that they weren’t ruthless hunters with a knack for seduction?  Or that they didn’t really have fangs?  Or—the worst of all insults—sparkled in the sun?  We have essentially cut their balls off. 

Enter Andy Deane.

 Some of you may know Andy as the frontman of the Goth band, Bella Morte.  That’s how I knew him until last summer.  We were supposed to attend a Sci-Fi Con together and I of course read his bio on the website.  Come to find out, he had started writing some horror fiction and immediately I was excited.  I read his first book, The Sticks and loved it.  I thought that the first chapter was truly one of the best first chapters I’d ever read.  So naturally, when I heard that his next novel, All the Darkness in the World, was coming out AND it was a vampire novel—I was completely psyched!  I forced myself to wait and buy a hard copy for myself directly from, for lack of a better term, the horse’s mouth.  I bought my copy from Andy and even scored an autograph.  My inner Goth chick was all gooey inside.  Then my outer critic tapped me on the shoulder and said, “What if it sucks?  After all, it’s a vampire novel.”  And after reading the book, I can tell my outer critic to shut the fuck up.  I won’t keep you in suspense—I loved it.  All the Darkness in the World has renewed my faith in the vampire genre.  Finally, a slew of badass vamps to wreak havoc for a good 200 pages.  No sparkling. No brooding. No remorse of any kind.  And it’s fabulous!

All the Darkness in the World is told from the first person point of view of our hero, Jace.  By the way, a horror novel told in first person POV is unusual and hard as hell to write.  The story begins when Jace is a frustrated teenager just praying for the day he can get out of his abusive parents’ house.  On a fateful night Jace witnesses two vampires attacking a lone female and he steps in to assist.   Confirming his role as the heroic shit-kicker, Jace lays waste to one of the creatures and ignites the rage of head-vampire, Vaughn.  Vaughn swears revenge on the skinny kid and thus the story gets rolling. 

Let me begin by saying that Deane is a master of characterization.  It’s really important in any sort of horror story to make the reader feel a connection to the hero.  Otherwise, you really won’t give a shit if the zombies are eating his or her brains.  From the first chapter, I had a really good idea of who Jace was and where he was coming from.  A lot of time was spent examining Jace’s relationship with his parents and at first I found it a little tiresome.  Then I realized—Jace’s folks are the real monsters of the story.  And if he can deal with them, a few vampires shouldn’t be much of a problem.  All that backstory makes it believable that when the shit hits the fan, Jace will be able to deliver and survive.  My only criticism of Deane’s storytelling would be that none of his other characters are as developed as Jace.  I found myself wanting to know more about Vaughn.  Why was he so bent on avenging the mindless drone that Jace took care of?  He goes to great lengths to destroy the world of a punk kid.  Why?  I wanted a bit more motivation on that front. 

I’ve been an avid reader since age five and one thing I’ve learned in the last thirty years is that some books are for boys and some are for girls.  Don’t laugh—it’s true.  Women tend to like books with deep characters and intricate plots that deal mostly with those characters.  Boys say to Hell with that emotional shit—get to the hack and slash.  For example, Lord of the Rings is a boy book.  Wuthering Heights is a girl book.  I won’t elaborate—go read them yourself.   All the Darkness in the World is definitely a boy book.  There’s a lot of action and violence.  The last fourth of the book is so bloody that for a moment I thought I might need a sterile towel to mop it up.  Luckily, I love the violence.  After all, I’ve always been a weird girl.  My personal favorite scene is near the end of the book when one of the drone vampires finds himself separated from the rest of the gang and is unluckily on the receiving end of Jace’s rage.  The way in which our hero disposes of the bloodsucker is both creative and sadistic.  So much so that I have made a point never to get on Deane’s bad side.  That being said, I was kind of missing a final mano a mano deathmatch at the end between Jace and Vaughn.  It’s there, but it wasn’t the epic fight to the death I was hoping for. 

It goes without saying that this horror aficionado loved All the Darkness in the World.  I think Voltaire (Goth musician and artist, not the witty writer/ historian/philosopher from the 1700s) summed it up best in his forward to the book when he wrote that reading Andy’s books are like listening to Andy tell a story.  It’s true.  His voice shines through in the narration and it’s endearing.  It makes you interested in what he has to say and therefore, you keep reading.  And that, of course, is the mark of a true horror writer.  To completely scare the shit out of you so that you want to put the book in the freezer, but at the same time make you so curious as to what happens next that you keep reading.  Andy is a true horror writer.  I can only hope that my own horror fiction can someday float around in the same echelon.

I don’t really have much of a rating system, so for those of you that need stars…

****

 

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Wicked Little Wednesdays: D.B. Moon

Good morning, children!  This week I’m joined by author D.B. Moon.  D.B. will be sharing an absolutely sizzling little excerpt of the upcoming book, Accidental Intent.  I read the excerpt with bated breath and I’ll just tell you— you’ll be angry.  Just when it’s getting good, damn if the excerpt isn’t over.  But of course… that’s what makes it wicked.  Enjoy…

*****************

Lucy and Nicolai swayed in time to the music enjoying the feel of their bodies pressed up against one another.

“What are we doing?” She wondered aloud.

“I believe it is called dancing.”

“No I mean this, us, what is it?”

He turned her gently around the living room floor. “Your guess is as good as mine.” He sighed into her hair. “I don’t want to define it I just want to enjoy it.” They swayed together letting the music take over. “Loving the Louboutin’s, by the way!”

The shoes gave her the height needed to be in kissing range without straining. Lucy gave in to the pull of his lips and the molding of their bodies. The excitement of tongues dancing together and the loss of breath that comes with desire.

Her fingers clutched his hair tighter pulling him into her. Nicolai tried to work the buttons of her shirt with clumsy fingers but ended up ripping the front. Buttons flew everywhere. His hands seized her bare skin. Lucy responded in kind ripped his shirt open and felt his skin against hers.

A moan escaped her lips as he pushed her into the wall his hands roamed freely over her neck, breasts, and abdomen. His dancing tongue was sending her into tactile overload.

A loud thud against her front door abruptly ended their foreplay.

************

Didn’t I tell ya?  PISSED OFF!!!  But it worked, because I’ll be rushing out to my Nook on release day.  This wicked little gem is coming this spring from Rebel Ink Press.  But to tide you over, here’s some links to other hot little numbers from D.B.  Moon…

Desi Moon http://dbmoonauthor.blogspot.com/

Author of Summerland-Noble Romance (As D.B. Moon) Available Now

My Humiliating Valentine included in Tempting Cupid V-Day Anthology– Rebel Ink Press (February 2012)

Accidental Intent- Rebel Ink Press (Spring 2012)

 

NEW RELEASE: Dollface

Alright, my laptop is playing tricks on me.  Deepest apologies to those of you that follow my blog.  You just received a blank blog post.  This is why I’m a Mac person.  My iMac never betrays me this way.  At any rate, I just wanted to let everyone know that my new short, “Dollface” has been released into the wild from No Boundaries Press!  It’s my first straight horror piece and it’s just so damn exciting! It’s also a great example (in my humble opinion) of that hazy genre we like to call Southern Gothic.   Y’all know I love to write about all things dark and sensual, but this time I delved into something less appetizing.  There are no happily ever afters in this story.  Well… except maybe for the nutty anti-heroine.

“Dollface” is the story of Caroline, a plain Jane, small town Southern girl who just happens to be a funeral home cosmetian. Everyone in town likes Caroline, though they’ve always felt that there was something not quite right about her. For years Caroline has pined in silence for the funeral director’s son, Scott Bauer. Scott has always been kind, but never returned her affections. Her world comes tumbling down when she discovers that Scott is to be married and will leave her forever. She can’t let that happen and will go to unnatural lengths to keep him.

Check out the blurb….

*****

“Hey there, Miss Caroline,” Justus shouted from the kitchen when he saw her come in.  “Thursday night usual?”

“Yes, please,” she replied, squeezing into one of the tiny booths in the corner.  Her Thursday night usual was stew beef and rice with a side of fresh tomatoes.  Looking around she saw the usual dinner crowd.  Sherriff  Roberts and his wife Melissa sat at the large corner table by the window.  Mr. Crabtree sat at the bar with his country fried steak, jabbering away to Mrs. Keester.  The Brewer twins ran around the old broken pinball machine while their mom read a book, completely oblivious.  Caroline sighed, her face fixed in an expression of contentment.  There were advantages to living in a small town.   Caroline always felt like she was among old friends in this place.  It helped with the loneliness.

“So guess who hopped in here for a piece of my sweet potato pie earlier?” Mrs. Keester asked, hefting her heavy breasts on to the counter in front of Mr. Crabtree.

“Couldn’t say,” he replied, helping himself to another forkful of collard greens.  “But I’m sure you’ll be glad to tell me, Wanda.”

Laughter echoed from the kitchen.  Justus’s head poked out from the window.  “Ain’t that the truth, Crabtree?  Our church don’t need a bulletin—we got Wanda.”

The men laughed heartily at Wanda’s expense for several seconds until she cleared her throat.  “You men finished?” she spat and emphasized her contempt on the word ‘men.’  “Anyway, Gerry Bauer’s son Scott was in here earlier today and he was jumpy as a whore in church.”  Caroline’s ears pricked at the mere mention of Scott’s name.  Grabbing the newspaper in the booth beside her, she pretended to read while listening closely to their conversation.

“Why’s that?”

“Well you know that girl from over in Maitland he’s been seein’—what’s her name—Ginny?”

“Ayuh,” Crabtree answered with a disinterested glance.  “What about her?”

“He was takin’ her out tonight so he could ask her to marry him!”

Caroline dropped her tea glass. It fell to the floor with a heavy clatter and  ice spilt all over.

Wanda rushed over from behind the bar and pulled a towel out of her apron.  “Caroline!  Are you okay, honey?”  She dropped  down on her knees and began picking up the ice off the floor.

*****

Now that I’ve whet your appetite, you can find the story at No Boundaries Press and Amazon.