IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF DRACULA edited by Stephen Jones. Pegasus Books (www.pegasusbooks.com), 2017, 686 pp., $29.95. ISBN 978-1-68177-534-0.
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Stephen Jones doesn’t edit in small portions. All of his anthologies are big. In his oeuvre are A BOOK OF HORRORS, THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF VAMPIRES, THE LOVECRAFT SQUAD, ZOMBIE APOCALPYSE! and others. I think I have read them all. But they took me a while.
You see, I am a very slow reader, both for work or pleasure. It’s why many are not seeing True Review 101 until now. I am busy reading a lot of things, which I won’t get into, including of course LOCUS and NEW SCIENTIST and . . . it goes on and on.
But I managed get through 686 pages for this, probably the most definitive single collection of Dracula stories you have ever seen.
These are my favorites:
“The Heart of Count Dracula, Descendant of Attila, Scourge of God” by Thomas Ligotti. The Count meets his match in a beautiful woman, a human, who leads him into an eternal trap.
“Daddy’s Little Girl” by Mandy Slater. The daughter of the Count lets her heart take advantage of her, jeopardizing the Count’s very dark secret. Even vampires have their own version of mortality.
“The Devil Is Not Mocked” by Manley Wade Wellman. Even the war machine of Adolf Hitler can succumb to the evils of the Count and his dominions.
“Zack Phalanx Is Vlad the Impaler” by Brian Lumley. Celebrity Zack Phalanx is going to film in the real Transylvania, and the location becomes frighteningly real.
“Endangered Species” by Brian Mooney. The Count begins to get frustrated by life-destroying (or eternal-life ending) human burial practices, such as embalming and cremation. What must he do to ensure bodily survival of the Undead?
“Melancholia” by Roberta Lannes. Even the Count wants to have a real relationship with somebody. But his visit to a shrink to get his head examined confirms what a warped person he is.
“Children of the Long Night” by Lisa Morton. Dracula can only survive so long before someone with the knowledge and will to destroy him comes along.
“Volunteers” by Terry Lamsley. Sylvia, a stay-at-home member of the volunteer service, pays a visit to a troubled senior, a man who has a mysterious past and lives alone. She may literally be what he needs.
“Blood of Eden” by Mike Chinn. Dracula has a diabolical plan to use the almost undetectable biologics of his blood to flood the soft-drink industry.
“The Lord’s Work” by F. Paul Wilson. This was my favorite of all the stories, and of course, Jones saves this for last. Who will hunt the vampires in a world overtaken by them? In this case, the unworthy savior of the world may just be a nun. She knows a lot about weapons-grade chemicals and makes a great antagonizer and vampire-destroyer.