Stake: who wants to believe?

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…

Beast: evil in the east

If you enjoy the way that the recent Dracula TV series seamlessly merged gothic horror with modern sensibilities, then Beast is just the book for you. Like the recent reinterpretations of Sherlock and Dracula, this episode of Six Stories sucks the marrow out of the original literary classic – and concocts a potent brew mixed…

Halloween Read: The Liberator

It’s the spookiest day of the year, so settle down for a slice of supernatural noir, night stalkers and silver bullets from the maestro of menace, Paul D Brazill… Weather the storm, they say. Let the dust settle. Bide your time. Wait. But what if that storm never stops raging? What then? Even if you…

Short stabs: quick thrillers and scary stories

There are moments when a full-length novel is just too much to get to grips with. So here are a few rapid reads which we’ve enjoyed recently, from contract killers to urban assassins, serial psychos to sibling rivalry, and a couple of stories with a subtle hint of the supernatural. Compact and carefully crafted, each…

Movie reviews: downloads and DVDs

It’s Movie Monday which means crime-thrillers, murder mysteries, sci-fi fantasy, Eurocrime and Nordic noir; mainstream, indie, art-house and B-movies. Recent screenings feature Stellan Skarsgård, Persian vampires, Gillian Anderson, Ving Rhames, Victor Garber and Lance Reddick. Eclectic? Exactly. THE GUEST: savvy super-soldier action thriller This got off to a slow start but is worth holding your…

Vigil: a satisfying vampire apocalypse

Ambitious and inventive, Vigil explores different dimensions surrounding the myth of the vampire while remaining true to the genre’s central tenet. It’s brutal and bleak; expansive but not pretentious. It extends the saga of the near-immortal blood-guzzling monster into tomorrow, a carefully considered and entirely credible post-apocalyptic future, where nukes have been used as a…

The Strain: scary vampires, not sparkly ones

There’s very little new in The Strain but it’s a well put together horror romp which successfully revitalises an old genre. Obviously intended to be adapted for the screen (it’s written by a film director after all, and has indeed been transformed into a TV series), this novel re-treads an old story in the modern…

Known Devil: hard-boiled urban fantasy

In this nifty mix of urban myth and police procedural, Detective Stan Markowski of the Occult Crimes Unit gets embroiled in a mafia family feud, uncovers a political plot, dodges bullets and bombs, and must counter a new street drug that’s driving even elves to armed robbery. Turns out he has a guardian angel watching…