Even today, if you asked my father who his favorite actress is, he would answer Adrienne Barbeau. Since the days of Maude, he's had a wild crush on her. Me, I never watched it. But The Fog, Escape from New York, and the excellent HBO series Carnivale would rank me pretty high on the Fan-Girl list myself. So when Anna, from The Book Report Network, contacted me with an opportunity to review Ms. Barbeau's first fiction novel, Vampyres of Hollywood (336 pgs, Thomas Dunne Books, 2008) I was over-the-top excited. Not only is it Adrienne Barbeau, but she's writing about Vampires. And we all know how much I love Vampire Fiction.
It took an X-ray and an autopsy to confirm that Jason Eddings had been killed with the Oscar he'd won for Best Actor just six hours earlier. He deserved it. The Oscar, that is. As for being murdered, well, he probably deserved that too.
As so begins the story of the Vampyres of Hollywood. Ovsanna Moore is a Hollywood powerhouse. She is the "Scream Queen" that has starred in and written seventeen blockbuster horror films ("and a few that went straight to video"). She is also the head of her own Hollywood Studio called Anticipation Studios. Beautiful, tough and powerful, she is a true Hollywood A-lister. She just also happens to be a 500-year-old vampire. As the Chatelaine of Hollywood, Osvanna was the first vampire to lay stake to the area. No other vampire is higher in rank than she. And rank is a pretty big deal among the various vampire clans. She also has connections to 3 very violent and very public Hollywood murders. Each actor that was killed by the "Cinema Slayer" has starred in at least one film from Anticipation studios. Not to mention that all 3 were vampires and part of Osvanna's clan.
Detective Peter Moore has been assigned to find the "Cinema Slayer". As handsome as an actor, Moore is a star in his own right. He has hero status among the cops for saving a child's life in a very high-profile way. He also has a lot of knowledge of the movie industry. His mother was a bit player back in the day, but ended up owning a very successful catering business that worked big name films. And now she's an even more successful dealer in Hollywood memorabilia. Peter knows the ins and outs of the business, and to him all roads in the gruesome serial killings lead right to Osvanna Moore and Anticipation Studios.
My first thought when I picked up this book was, "What if I don't like it?" I would be so disappointed, as an Adrienne Barbeau fan-girl, if I didn't. But nothing could be further from the truth. I absolutely loved this book!! Campy, without being cliche; witty, without being slapstick; and gruesome, without being repellent; Vampyres of Hollywood is a breath of fresh air in a genre that is fast becoming overdone in the literary world. With a new take on all the old vampire legends, Barbeau and Scott have created a funny, fast-paced "horror" novel that is also a very crafty mystery. The icing on the cake is a lot of cool Hollywood trivia, and the inclusion of many of the old Hollywood screen legends.
Told in alternating chapters from both Osvanna's and Peter's perspectives, the novel moves quickly. And once the story starts taking shape, it's near impossible to put the book down! If you are a fan of the paranormal, of the vampire legend, or even of the old Silver Screen Actors, this book is definitely for you. Combine that with a lot of behind-the-scenes looks at Hollywood from a true insider, and you have a novel that certainly puts a "Bite" on the reader. Pun, most definitely intended!! Many, many thanks to Anna for passing this great read on to me. Highly Recommended!! 4.5/5