Imagine you’re a vampire hunter, trying to eradicate an unmitigated menace. To the creatures that you hunt, you’re the ultimate enemy. To the modern world, you’re a psychopathic serial killer. When objective truth is blurred by personal perceptions, either extreme could be possible. And that’s the entertaining territory which author Kevin J Anderson explores in Stake, a fast-paced and playful page-turner about the potential existence of blood-sucking supernatural night-stalkers.
Blogger Lexi really wants to believe that there’s more to life than going gently into that good night. She debates and debunks weird experiences online, and can’t resist a mystery of ritualised killings. Serial killer ‘Simon Helsing’ is completely convinced – firstly that vampires exist, and secondly that he needs to exterminate them…
The story zigzags between these two and the sceptical police detective who is investigating this string of bizarre homicides – murders of nightshift workers and isolated shut-ins, people who rarely see the light of day. People who might easily be mistaken for vampires. Or who might actually be vampires.
To add even more intrigue, we meet well-equipped survivalists hiding in the wilderness, waiting for civilisation to crumble. They’re more than ready to defend themselves against vampires – or the federal government.
Who is the olde worlde reclusive gentleman, wildly wealthy, whose motivation for bank-rolling Lexi’s blog may be a lot less than ethical? And then there’s the seriously creepy pizza delivery guy who only comes out after dark. Lexi’s quest to discover if there’s something more than meets the eye draws her into a cleverly constructed conundrum, where these mysterious interests overlap. There’s definitely a lot at stake (…sorry!)
This was a hugely enjoyable romp which could easily have been the plot of an excellent X-Files episode. Stake cleverly blends the keynotes of gothic vampire tradition with all the existential angst of modern online life. Do vampires actually exist? You’ll need to read right to the very end to find an answer…
Reviewed by Rowena Hoseason
Stake by Kevin J Anderson is available at Amazon