Leopold Broom Investigates: Vampires in the Words

by Lee Cross

Vampires. First and foremost, credit where credit is due, they are the single most dominant creature from the supernatural that exists in literature today.

A bold and sweeping statement, owing much to the influence cinema and television no doubt, but it’s honestly one I stand by.

carmillaMy evidence? It’s in the bookshops, check the fantasy/horror section(s), creatures who drink blood are everywhere (…I mean in the pages…mostly…), you can’t miss them.

Certainly, the Gods and Devils of this world appear as frequently on high street but I’m discounting them from the purely fictional arena because they are creatures of faith and fancy.

One man’s Shiva is another’s Santa Claus and I’m not sure whether it’s the consumption alcohol or amphetamines that makes the voices clear… in short, it’s all too bloody confusing, so I’m going to talk about vampires instead.

Vampires are everywhere in the world of books, they come in all shapes and sizes, use a variety of names and are always sure to create debate amongst readers.

I think my first was Anne Rice’s, ‘Interview with the Vampire’, which I read in my early teens. There was a copy just sitting around in my parent’s house, I picked it up and went from there. We were not a family overburdened with novels, so the fact a well-thumbed copy was growing dusty on a shelf speaks volumes about how popular vampire fiction must have been out in the wider world.

After Interview, I can’t make a guess at how many books I’ve encountered vampires in. I do know that it’s a lot, just as I’m sure I’ve never gone out of my way actively looking for them. They just keep silently stalking me from bookshelves and finding their way into my home…

At the sound of the V-word two distinct groups of readers are formed. Those people who really enjoy vampire novels, and those of us who are honestly fed up of them BUT are always prepared to give the genre one more go… just in case that next one is THE GREAT ONE that we’ve unknowingly been searching for.

Let me dish out some more credit here – There have been some exceptional vampire books along the way, really excellent reads that have engaged the fullest parts of our imaginations from start to finish.

My argument is that there has never been a truly great one…at least not yet.

And that’s why I keep picking them up from time to time, I’m searching for that great one, I’m looking for that ‘yet’.

Where the resolve comes from to keep looking, or why it exists, I don’t know because there are more than enough terrible examples of Vamp novels, toilet roll manufacturers could easily start snapping them up bulk buy and…well.

My god! When they go bad they are soo bad! Cheesy, re-hashed, cliché… already full of shit even before that first wipe…

YET – Still we keep picking them up, still, we keep looking. Are we simply searching for that true masterpiece, or is it something else; have Vampires cast a power over our minds?

Do we, in the deepest darkest recesses of our subconscious, secretly want to believe…?



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