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Vampires ed by Ann Keeran and Kevin J. Kennedy

KJK Publishing, ebook, £2.49

Reviewed by Sarah Deeming

Short story collections are a funny breed of books. By bringing together a collection of stories from different people on a similar theme, you are changing the narrative voice from story to story, which can mean that not every one will hit home with the reader. It is rare for a collection to work from beginning to end, so I was pleasantly surprised by Vampires from KJK Publishing.

Vampires is a collection of eight stories exploring vampires from different angles. Most of them are in a modern setting, exploring how vampires infiltrate our society, and for me, it was these different angles that kept me reading. I devoured the whole book in a night.

I don’t like giving a synopsis of every story; I feel that takes away your enjoyment of discovering them for yourself; there were two standout stories that really struck a chord with me. This isn’t to say the others are excellent; they are really good quality stories. It’s just that these two represent the skill of the authors in this collection.

The first is Vampryrrhic Pay-Per-View by Simon Clark, which looks at those dark parts of the internet and how they could be exploited by vampires. I found it clever because while we, the reader, are primed for this story to have real vampires isn’t, the narrator isn’t. The steady build of tension throughout the story to its conclusion (remember, no spoilers) was really clever and satisfying.

The second is Chasing Moonlight by Greg F. Gifune. Again, this story plays on the reader’s expectations. This is a book about vampires, so if a character is known as Priest, then he must be a good guy. The way the story unravels is not how the beginning leads us to believe, but the fault is ours in making assumptions. It also looks at the personality of someone who is dependent on others to make their decisions for them. Chasing Moonlight is a very clever piece of writing.

Although these stories are all different, they are similar in that the vampires are not your friendly, fluffy vampires who are likely to fall in love with you and confess their feelings to you. These vampires are only interested in humans as food, another element that I enjoyed.

Overall, Vampires is a strong, chilling collection, perfect for reading late at night and a bargain at the price. Highly recommended.

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