Friday, October 28, 2011

Review: Theater of Vampires, Volume 2 of Jason Dark Ghost Hunter

Theater of Vampires
Volume 2 in the Jason Dark, Ghost Hunter series
Guido Henkel
Available through Jason Dark - Ghost Hunter, Amazon in both print and Kindle editions, and Barnes & Noble in e-book for the Nook

If you like pulp horror in a quick and easy, enjoyable read, then this series is for you.

Jason Dark is a ghost hunter...and a vampire hunter...and a demon hunter...and a hunter of all things supernatural.  He is aided and abetted by his faithful assistant Siu Lin and his housekeeper Lady Wellesley.

Our story begins with the advent of Jason's friend Max.  Their reunion is a happy one, with a pleasant dinner with Jason's assistant Siu Lin in attendance.  Talk is turned to the new play being performed, rumoured to be in the Grand Guignol style, called Theater of Vampires.  Max persuades Jason to attend a performance and that's where our story begins to take off.  Jason suspects there is more than meets the eye to the performers of this harrowing stage show and sets out to investigate.  His suspicions are confirmed when Max is violently, and literally wrenched out of Jason's home by a vampire kidnapping.

Written in a pulp fiction style, there are lurid descriptions of blood letting, pale, red-eyed vampires with preternatural abilities, ambushes, confrontations, captures, rescues, action,'s all here.
The story only runs 61 pages.  I found it entertaining, both for it's subject matter and the style in which it is written.  Some of it seems grand and a tad over the top dramatically speaking, but that's a hall mark of pulp fiction to begin with.  I spent an entertaining evening reading this, enjoying a genre I hadn't previously read too much of.  Pulp writing is a dying art these days to a degree, but Henkel writes with a sure pen, creating the shadowy streets of London in the winter, the dark and mysterious theater and the threatening vampires with ease.  I felt transported to Jason's side, be it as he dined with Max, attended the play, worked in his laboratory, took to the dark street, and entered the theater to engage in a showdown with the vampires.

There's a fair amount of blood in this tale, enough to satisfy the gore hound.  I liked the lab work Jason employed, a nod to the wit of Sherlock Holmes I suspect.  The pacing is sound, and the characters are brought to convincing life.

For a quick, atmospheric tale of the supernatural, this series is a winner.  There are 10 volumes currently available, with Jason taking on demons, witches, ghostly Kinghts Templar, a real doctor Frankenstein, wraiths, curses, and wrathful goddesses, to name but a few of the terrors he meets.

In January of 2011, Henkel was invited by Fangoria magazine to write an exclusive serial novel for their magazine, beginning with issue #302, entitled Food for the Dead.  Quite an honor, indeed.

For more on Guido Henkel;
Jason Dark on Facebook
Jason Dark, Ghost Hunter

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