Let The Right One In

 

Title: Let The Right One In

Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist

Publisher: Quercus http://www.quercusbooks.co.uk/

ISBN: 978-1847241696

 

Blurb

Oskar and Eli. In very different ways, they were both victims. Which is why, against the odds, they became friends. And how they came to depend on one another, for life itself. Oskar is a 12 year old boy living with his mother on a dreary housing estate at the city’s edge. He dreams about his absentee father, gets bullied at school, and wets himself when he’s frightened. Eli is the young girl who moves in next door. She doesn’t go to school and never leaves the flat by day. She is a 200 year old vampire, forever frozen in childhood, and condemned to live on a diet of fresh blood. John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel, a huge bestseller in his native Sweden, is a unique and brilliant fusion of social novel and vampire legend. And a deeply moving fable about rejection, friendship and loyalty.

Review

I should have read Let The Right One In before I read Little Star (see my review) but only because this was Lindqvist’s first novel. Fortunately, the two are stand alone and in terms of the stories can be read in any order, but I think writers who read them chronologically will appreciate the evident development of Linqvist’s style and technique. There is much to be learned.

I have to confess I am now a firm fan of this Scandinavian author, albeit late to the party. I saw the film of this book and enjoyed it, and even if it’s a cliche I have to say that the book is better – far, far better – than the film. I wish someone would make a film and keep the whole story, sod the running time – it would be the best horror flick in history.

Yes, it’s a vampire story – but if you think you’ve had it up to the neck with vampires I urge you to think again. Let The Right One In is as much about the woes of social exclusion, loneliness, dejection, family dysfunction, bullying, alcoholism and coming of age as it is about blood sucking. As a divorced father there were times it pulled me up short and made me review my life. At the same time, Linqvist creates wonderfully round and weird characters but all of them totally believable. The pages are filled with pure horror of the multi-layered kind not seen since the early works of Clive Barker. And after all of this, I defy you not to feel sorry for the vampire.

It is a bloody good read and deserves 5 stakes.

The Vampire Shrink : Book Review

The Vampire Shrink

Author: Lynda Hilburn

Published by: Jo Fletcher Books (25 Aug 2011)

Kindle version ASIN: B005IHBWDE

Hardback: ISBN-13: 978-0857387196

Blurb

Kismet Knight is a young psychologist with a growing clinical practice, and she’s always looking for something to give her the edge in her chosen career. When her new client turns out to be a Goth teenager who desperately wants to become a vampire, Kismet is inspired to become the vampire shrink, offering her services to people who believe they are undead. Kismet herself, as a scientist, knows it’s hokum, but she’s looking at it in a purely psychoanalytic light, already imagining the papers she’s going to write on this strange subculture. That’s until she meets the leader of a vampire coven, a sexy, mysterious man who claims to be a powerful 800-year-old vampire, and she is pulled into a whirlwind of inexplicable events that start her questioning everything she once believed about the paranormal.

Review

If you’re a Brit, get the Kindle version because it contains British spelling and punctuation, making it an entirely ‘gotten’ free zone. Yay! I hate the word ‘gotten’ so much I can’t tell you. And there’s another thing about The Vampire Shrink; it is so witty that at times the reader can believe the author is a Brit. Oh, boy, the American vampires will be after me now!

Seriously, this is one of the funniest books I’ve read for a long time. The self-deprecating MC, Kismet the psychologist, is brilliant. She gives us a clever sideways look at the uptight materialistic USA of today,  as well as poking fun at her own kind.

“It seemed he’d had a close encounter with a protester – I couldn’t imagine what anyone would protest about at a Star Trek convention..”

And when the vampire presents her with a collection of exquisite gowns: “What is this? Vampire Cinderella?”

“There was blood all over my living room. A trashed office and a living room that smelled like a used sanitary pad.”

There are plenty of vampires, lots of blood letting and some well-written sex scenes. Is it horror? Nope. This isn’t going to have you pulling the duvet up tight around your neck or stringing garlands of garlic across the windows. But I don’t believe that was ever the author’s intention.

I loved it and recommend it. Was there anything to pick at? Well, the final big scene, the ritual, I felt was rather mechanical and lacked the sparkle of the rest of the book, but it’s a small point in an otherwise commendable debut novel. Stars out of 5? Oh, go on: 4.5 and well deserved.