Bluey, the Yahoo-Devil-Devil

The most memorable bit of dialogue from any monster movie comes from the original version of King Kong in 1933. It’s an unexpected piece of poetry that, I think we can all agree, elevates the movie above and beyond genre. 

Still powerful even today, the monostich finale continues to inspire thousands of movies and novels. “It was beauty killed the beast,” says Kong’s captor just before the movie ends and the credits roll. 

Man-Beast from Deborah Sheldon is an example of a novel inspired by the poetry of King Kong. It’s a Beauty and the Beast-like story with a monster and a pretty girl and the tragedy they share. 

Pearl Bennett is a young and petite woman. She’s a slip of a thing only 4 feet, 6 inches tall. Slender to the point of malnourishment, pale, wavy blonde hair and a pinched mouth like a cherry. Says the author: “She was a young and silly flibbertigibbet.” 

Pearl is the cook for a troupe of pugilists who travel across Australia fighting and wrassling for the enjoyment of rural communities. There’s Big Stanley, a legitimate pro boxer, Mavis the Mauler, a kangaroo and a stable of complicit showies. The star of the show, however, is a Yahoo-Devil-Devil named Bluey. 

For those of you who don’t already know, a Yowie is the equivalent of a Sasquatch in Aboriginal folklore. Described here, Bluey is nine feet tall and 500 pounds. He has the face of a gorilla but almost that of a man—and even though he’s an infant, he’s got muscles the size of watermelons and a chest as big as a wine barrel. 

Bluey is the big moneymaker for the troupe. Everybody in Australia wants to see him spar inside the boxing ring. Caged, exploited and kept inebriated for safety concerns, the baby Yowie is a sympathetic monster just like King Kong.  

Eventually, with the help of Pearl, Bluey escapes confinement and is reunited with his extended family in the bush. What follows is an unfortunate massacre of beast and man. Parallel to the woodland melee, the author also includes a smart stream of consciousness   sidebar involving a pack of dingoes. 

Like King Kong loose in New York City, the resolution to Man-Beast is predictably tragic (“Everything about this is shitty,” sighs one bystander). Bluey and Pearl share a strong bond but they cannot escape from the cruel consequences of what they begat. “Her actions had doomed them all,” says the author about Pearl. “Every death so far, and every death still to come, was on her own contemptible head.” It’s not poetic like the ending of King Kong, but it’ll do. 

[Man-Beast / By Deborah Sheldon / First Printing: September 2021 / ISBN: 9781922551031]

Curse of the Mummy

Seventeen-year-old Alana Richardson was an Egyptology geek. She could read and write hieroglyphics and had a good knowledge of Egyptian mythology and history.

Even though she was a suburban kid from Denver, she looked like she was from Egypt. As a joke, she went to a styling salon one afternoon and had her hair cut like an Egyptian queen. The hairdresser loved the idea, and Lana’s hair, thick and jet-black, held the blunt cut perfectly. 

When an assortment of Egyptian historical artifacts comes to the Denver Museum of Natural History, Lana eagerly signs up as a volunteer. To her, this month-long exhibit was like the World Cup, Comiket and Mardi Gras all rolled into one. She couldn’t have wished for a better time.

But as we all know, you should always be careful what you wish for. On the first day of the exhibit, Lana found herself in a room with a pair of ornate sarcophagi. She immediately felt the weight of 6,000 years of ancient history. “The room was filled with silence that stretched back thousands of years,” wrote Barbara Steiner ominously. “The silence of a tomb. The silence of death.”

Like all mummy stories from the past (and into perpetuity no doubt), there was a curse surrounding the two stone coffins. There’s a burial shroud with the body of Prince Nefra in one coffin, but the body of Urbena, his fiancée, was missing from the other. 

The museum curator explained it this way: “The coffin is empty,” he said, “because someone robbed the grave of the would-be-princess and took her body. Legend tells us there is a curse on the tomb that will be broken only when the mummy of Urbena is found and returned.”

Before the first day of the exhibit ends, poor Lana becomes the target of intense harassment from a variety of sources. Nefra and Urbena speak to her from beyond the grave, someone is tossing scorpions and mummified cats through her bedroom window and everyone at the museum is being hostile. There’s even a “musty-smelling” mummy stalking her at night.

It’s bewildering at first, but Lana eventually figures out the underlying cause of her predicament. With her Egyptian countenance and hairdo, she looked as if she stepped right out of Cleopatra’s court. It was enough to make one believe in reincarnation. “You definitely look like Urbena,” joked a museum colleague, “Maybe you have come back, Princess. Isn’t that funny?”

To save herself, Lana needed to solve a 6,000-year-old mystery. Why was Prince Nefra killed the night before his wedding? Did Urbena commit suicide, was she murdered or was she buried alive? If Lana doesn’t do something quickly, she might find herself wrapped in gauze, stuffed into a sarcophagus and shipped back to Egypt. 

Lana wasn’t some silly schoolgirl who could be intimidated by theater tricks, but the curse of Urbena kept her dizzy. She had to admit, it was real to many people. “The curse will go on and on unless Urbena’s mummy is returned,” said a visiting archaeologist. “You’d be perfect Lana. You would satisfy the gods and Nefra would be pleased.”

[The Mummy / By Barbara Steiner / First Printing: May 1995 / ISBN: 9780590203531]

The Filth and the Fury

Thirty years ago, a plague came to Garth, Missouri. “I learned about it in school,” remembered one local. “About how the sickness fell from the sky when a meteor passed by and how people infected with it don’t die like they should. They just rot and bite.”

In other words, a large group of people living in rural Missouri turned into zombies. The word “zombie” wasn’t used by the townsfolk, however. Locals preferred to call them dead critters or dead folks. “They’re dead, that’s all they is,” said an old-timer. “Dead and unwillin’ to go to Hell.” 

The dead folks couldn’t go to Hell so they made a little hell on earth for themselves. They lived in an 80-acre quarantined zone called the Dead-Land and spent their days munching on brains and offal like it was brisket and cornbread. For dessert, they ate mud. 

Normally, the Dead-Land was a restricted area—no one was allowed to mingle with the zombies. But once a year the town sponsored a Hunger Games-like event called the Gauntlet. A pot of money was left in the center of the sanctuary. It was a mystery who put it there, but everyone was encouraged to claim it for themselves. This year there was $2 million waiting for the person who could outmaneuver the shambling dead critters, the clattering disembodied heads and the giant mutant parasites of the Dead-Land. 

As you’d expect, there’s a lot of filth and fury in a book called Zombie Vomit Shitshow. Author Judith Sonnet didn’t miss an opportunity to add gobs of snot, puke, smegma and various organ meats to the narrative. It’s gross, but also surprisingly funny. 

Beyond the explicit carnage, Sonnet was smart enough to turn the annual Gauntlet into a metaphor for how fucked up our world was today. Everything that was horrible in Dead-Land was horrible in normal society too. The game allowed people to do all sorts of bad stuff to capture the caldron of cash. Steal, murder, rape—for one night, it was all part of the game. 

The winner (and loser) of this year’s competition was a teenage greaser wearing a Cannibal Corpse T-shirt. He beat everyone to the final prize, but the whole rotten game ruined his soul. For money (or maybe shredded newspapers, pebbles and grain) he had killed innocent people. 

Said the author in a novel-ending hillbilly elegy: The Dead-Land wasn’t just cursed … it was sick. It had a sickness that’d spread even to those that didn’t get bit. It tainted the soul and ruined the body. “Be prepared,” wrote Sonnet in conclusion. “You ain’t gonna come out the way ya came in.” 

[Zombie Vomit Shitshow / By Judith Sonnet / First Printing: December 2022 / ISBN: 9798366525138]

Teddy Roosevelt vs. the Sea Monster

Liopleurodons were the largest of the ancient Pilosaurs and arguably one of the greatest carnivores to ever exist. Back in the day, they were the size of a whale and looked somewhat like a crocodile and a shark. According to author M.B. Zucker, the short-necked plesiosaur transformed hunting into an art form, “A master of its craft,” he said, “the Liopleurodon was the Shakespeare or Beethoven of preying on reptiles and fish within Jurassic waters.

When an 80-foot, 150-ton living Liopleurodon was found frozen in a block of ice, the impact on science was immeasurable. It was the year 1911 and paleontology was experiencing its golden age. “Let’s take a moment to appreciate the biggest discovery in our field’s history,” said one awestruck scholar. 

The moment didn’t last long, however. Almost immediately, the Liopleurodon was abducted from a U.S. Naval base and released into the Atlantic Ocean. The aquatic monster quickly reclaimed its apex predator status and started gobbling up everything in sight. It hadn’t had a snack in 155 million years and it was hangry.

Over night, the giant marine reptile became a geopolitical pawn (or maybe a rook or a bishop) for a big ol’ game of pre-WWI chess. Both the United States and Germany saw the potential of using the prehistoric beast as a weapon of war. Whoever harnessed the Liopleurodon could hypothetically create chaos in key seaports and disrupt naval logistics in their favor. 

This was when things became really, really interesting. Without a doubt, the Liopleurodon was a fearsome ocean master, but its fearsomeness paled against the ever-lovin’ charisma of papa bear Theodore Roosevelt. 

Currently living life as an ex-President, Roosevelt was actively looking for some kind of publicity stunt to propel him back into the White House in the upcoming election of 1912. What better way was there than securing a compliant sea-roaming leviathan for the U.S. Navy? If his machinations proved successful, he would outmaneuver German Kaiser Wilhelm II and become the U.S. President once again. 

Throughout the novel, Roosevelt was a great big hoot. Always larger than life, he commanded the narrative and chewed up the scenery in the best possible way. Certainly he was a macho man (as defined by his generation), but he was also an articulate guy with an appreciation for poetry. He was keenly aware of the situation in front of him. “Roosevelt’s enemy was the Liopleurodon,” wrote Zucker. “Conquering it was his ultimate challenge.”

The story’s climax finally arrives as Roosevelt and the sea creature have their long awaited showdown in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. On hand to witness the event was a German dreadnaught and a private yacht with Winston Church onboard. As a reader, I was onboard too. In fact, the finale made me a little sad. “Why can’t reality be as exciting as this?” I thought to myself as I shut down my Kindle for the night. 

[Liopleurodon: The Master of the Deep / By M.B. Zucker / First Printing: September 2022 / ISBN: 9798986256450] 

Runaway Bride

Here’s something crazy. A novel that’s a sequel to a movie that is itself a sequel to a movie based on a novel from the year 1818. It’s also a book that blends Mary Shelley’s mythos with J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis

It’s a crazy book all right, but most of all—it’s a book about monsters with a feminist twist. “The instant my eyes opened,” explains the heroine, “my own consciousness began to colonize the femina incognito.”

As it turns out, the Bride of Frankenstein (named Pandora by author Elizabeth Hand) is a righteous babe. Right from the first page she asserts her gender politics: “From the moment I knew fire and was thus born, my goal has always been to steal fire, and power, for myself. I am no man’s creature and no man’s possession.” 

And because she’s such a spitfire, the ensuing scenes between her and Frankenstein’s original monster sparkle with emotional electricity. Even though they share the same ungodly experience, the pair has a lot of issues to work out between themselves. 

Like Zeus, Dr. Frankenstein creates Pandora as the most beautiful of all living things. Despite the stink of death and the scars up and down her body, she is so lovely that men are driven to maim, murder and betray all other men in order to possess her. “Witness Pandora!” announces her number one ally Dr. Pretorius. “She is the future of Womankind! Beautiful as a mountain stream, strong as a mountain.” 

Unlike her mythological namesake, however, Pandora doesn’t negligently unleash a torrent of monsters from a box. She takes ownership of her situation immediately. “Whatever I unleash upon men,” she says, “I will do so knowingly.”

After rejecting her soulmate (see the original Bride of Frankenstein movie from 1935 for more details), Pandora flees to nearby Berlin, by way of Neverland, to live life as the sensational she-corpse. She has no problem fitting into Berlin’s Weimar culture of intellectuals, artists and dissidents. After all, Frankenstein gave her beauty and the wit to use it. He also gave her a driving thirst for knowledge and a keen impulse for self protection. 

Once in Berlin, the runaway bride meets her spiritual sister—Futura, the iconic mechanical woman from the 1927 movie Metropolis. Both Pandora and the fembot know they are victims of man’s perverse hubris. They know first hand that the giving and taking of life is far too important a matter to be left to the likes of men. 

But they have a plan. Maybe if they work together, the two “monsters” can figure out a redemption for humanity. The beautiful corpse and the magnificent machine might be able to author a New Eve—born of man their betrayer and their ultimate triumph over him.  

[The Bride of Frankenstein: Pandora’s Bride / By Elizabeth Hand / First Printing: 2007 / ISBN: 9781595820353]

The Rutting Season

Central Pennsylvania is a creepy place. I’ve been there and I’m convinced the entire area is full of hobgoblins, trows and other madmen.

With his novel Dark Hollow (first published in 2006 as The Rutting Season), author Brian Keene unleashes a sex-starved satyr into the woods surrounding the small Pennsylvania borough of Shrewsbury. The results, as you’d expect, are both horrible and rape-y. 

Satyrs are horny motherfuckers, says Keene. “Half goat and half man, their primal attributes and wild sex drive embodies the uninhibited forces of nature.” To paraphrase Aleister Crowley: “They rave and they rape and they rip and they rend everlasting, world without end.”

Satyr’s will mate with anything—including all sorts of wild animals, livestock and household pets—but they prefer human women as partners. That’s why the men of Shrewsbury are in a panic. While they sleep at night they know a caprine devil prowls the neighborhood streets tooting his magical shepherd’s flute.  

It’s impossible for the ladies to resist the hypnotizing midnight music. One by one they rise from their beds to join the forest orgy hosted by Hylinus, the legendary horndog with BDE. Says the author: “It was the spring equinox, the season of sex. The rutting season.”

But how does a beast from Greek mythology pop up in Central PA in the first place? Here’s the scoop: Years ago, the Satyr was summoned by a local farmer (and amateur wizard) named Nelson LeHorn. He simply wanted the woodland deity to bless his crops and help breed his livestock. 

Things didn’t go as planned, however. Released from his magical labyrinth, Hylinus ignored the farmer’s wishes and savagely raped his wife and daughters. For the past 20 years, the Satyr has been hiding in the nearby woods stewing in his lustful juices.  

Now, after two decades of unspeakable carnal debauchery, the endgame begins. A group of friends decide to assail LeHorn’s Hollow and kill the creepy goat monster. The odds of them succeeding are slim. Imagine a vigilante militia comprised of King of the Hill stumblebums (specifically Hank, Dale, Bill and Boomhauer) and you get an idea of how hopeless their mission truly is. 

The author doesn’t give anyone a happy ending. The women are distressed, the men are gloomy and the stain of Hylinus remains. “I have tasted the nectar of your women,” he tells the menfolk of Shrewsburg. “They have presented themselves to me and we have rutted beneath the moon. Forever, when they orgasm, my name will be on their lips. This is my curse upon thee.”

[Dark Hollow / By Brian Keene / First Deadite Printing: June 2012 / ISBN: 9781621050308]

Footsteps on the Rooftop of the World

British explorer Lieutenant Colonel Charles Kenneth Howard-Bury did not see the “Wild Man of the Himalayas” during his trek to Mount Everest in 1921. He only saw strange footprints in the snow. But he did, by accident, attach an enduring name to the iconic snowman. 

Gardner Soule, the author of Trail of the Abominable Snowman, explained it this way: In Howard-Bury’s dispatch to a newspaper in Calcutta, India, his mention of the wild man was somehow garbled. He meant to say: “Mehteh Kang-mi.” This in Nepalese meant simply “manlike wild creature.” But in Calcutta, when the telegram was received, it read instead: “Metch-kangmi.” “Metch” in Tibetan means filthy, dirty or smelly. “Kang” means snow. “Mi” means man. Metch-Kangmi was translated, by a newspaper columnist in Calcutta, as the Abominable Snowman. 

From that moment, when Howard-Bury’s telegram was received, the Western world began to be interested in the Abominable Snowman. Said Soule: “It was such a wonderful name for an unknown animal that it has stuck till this very day.”

Of course, people knew about the elusive snowman years before he was ever given a name. Another British explorer named William Knight spotted him back in a 1903 expedition. Said Knight at the time: “He was a little under six feet high, almost stark naked in the bitter cold, pale yellow all over with a shock of matted hair on his head, small patches of hair on his face, highly splayed feet and large formidable hands. His muscular development in the arms, thighs, legs and chest was terrific.”

In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and his Sherpa partner Tenzing Norgay were the first men to reach the top of Mount Everest. They saw plenty of mysterious footprints in the snow, but they never saw any weird man-like beasts skulking in the flora. Hillary later wrote about his expeditions in a 1962 memoir called High in the Thin Cold Air: “The yeti was a fascinating fairy tale,” he wrote, “born of the rare and frightening view of strange animals, molded by superstition and enthusiastically nurtured by Western expeditions.”

I admit, the narrative is a little bit jumbled in Soule’s 1966 textbook—especially in the beginning. But in his defense he was attempting to parse a lot of disparate information about the Abominable Snowman. It won’t surprise anyone that he neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the beast. All he could do was embrace the romance of such a creature. 

“The yeti could be a 100- or 200- or 400-pound monkey or ape or bear or it could be a cave man or it could be anything in between. Whatever is eventually found,” he concluded, “will be a major zoological discovery. The existence of an intelligent ape or a Neanderthal man would be one of science’s major all-time discoveries.”

[Trail of the Abominable Snowman / By Gardner Soule / First Printing: January 1966 / ISBN: 9780399606427] 

Little Brothers Are Watching

Little brothers are annoying. They break things, they whine incessantly and they leave LEGO bricks all over the floor. All you can do is wait until they grow up and hope for the best. Like they say in Finland: Boys will be boys no matter how long you fry them in oil. 

The titular little brothers in this 1988 doorstopper are something else entirely. They’re ratty little humanoid things with fangs and razor-sharp talons. Over the years they’ve developed a taste for human flesh. 

“My ancestors—the Mi’ kmaq—call them untcigahunk (translation: younger or older brothers) because they look pretty much like people,” explains John Watson. “But they’re small, ugly and vicious. Supposedly the Great Spirit created them before he created Man.”

Now living underground, the untcigahunk come to the surface every five years for a little nasty fun. “When I was young,” continues Watson, “my grandfather would tell me stories about them. I always felt in some way like they were a small bit of revenge for what white colonizers did to my people.”

Old Man Watson might be right. There are a lot of white people living in Thornton, Maine, and twice a decade a spike in deaths plagues the small town. Who can really say, ultimately, what motivates the untcigahunk? The fact remains: They show up on a regular basis. And when they do, they bring death with them. 

The Howard family knows firsthand how deadly the creepy little buggers are. After all these years, Bill continues to mourn the death of his wife following a vicious untcigahunk attack. And Kip, the youngest of his two sons, is still in shock after seeing his mother slashed to ribbons. 

More than his father, Kip is having a particularly hard time getting over the tragedy. After years of counseling (and a little encouragement from Watson) he decides to confront the untcigahunk for some therapeutic revenge. “If I run into any of those things,” growls the 12-year-old little boy, “well, then, they’d just better watch their asses!” 

Kip and Watson descend into the untcigahunk underground lair with a bunch of inadequate supplies (a canteen full of water, a flashlight and a hunting knife). Watson is carrying a long gun, but he knows how hopeless their expedition really is. Fifteen shotguns, he figures, wouldn’t be enough to stop an onrush of subterranean monsters.

Meanwhile, there’s a ton of subplots going on in Thornton. There’s a romance brewing, a little infidelity, racism, abusive bullying, juvenile delinquent high jinx, sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. It’s the era of primetime MTV and the climate is jacked with a soundtrack of Ratt, Van Halen and Judas Priest. 

Don’t get too involved with these subplots, however. All of them (every single one!) go unresolved and unfulfilled. Once the story goes underground, everything above ground becomes irrelevant. But is that a bad thing? Probably not. Like all good monster novels, Little Brothers is absolutely resolute. The untcigahunk are the stars here. Don’t be distracted by anything else.

[Little Brothers / By Rick Hautala / First Printing: March 1988 / ISBN: 9780821722763]

Rivers’ World

According to Sir Reginald Rivers, the co-owner of Rivers and Aiyar Time Safaris, hunting dinosaurs wasn’t too dangerous. “Especially if you made all your moves smoothly and correctly, and didn’t commit foolish mistakes like catching a twig in the mechanism of your gun, or stepping on the tail of a sleeping carnosaur or climbing a small tree that a dinosaur could pluck you out of.” 

It wasn’t dinosaurs and other animals that caused problems during time travel safaris. It was the human beings. Said L. Sprague de Camp, the author of Rivers of Time: “Tyrannosaurus rex was a mere inconvenience compared to the assortment of Homo sapiens traipsing through the Mesozoic era.”  

To prove his point, de Camp sat down and wrote nine time travel adventures featuring dinosaurs and an assortment of idiots, including big-game hunters, animal-rights activists, millionaires, bankrupt millionaires, playboys, playgirls, scientists, college professors, journalists, artists, taxidermists, chefs, religious leaders and survivalists. 

Possibly the biggest idiot was Willow Lamar, an animal-rights activist affiliated with S.T.L.O. (Suffer the Little Ones). She joined the safari to protect dinosaurs from trophy hunters. Rivers had to remind her: “The beasts my clients hunt are all long extinct. Your efforts wouldn’t bring any dinosaurs or mastodons back to life.” She didn’t see it that way of course. “Killing for fun is a crime against the universe!” she snapped.

Another dumbass was Clifton Standish, a guy who wanted to return to the “caveman era” to hunt dinosaurs the way his ancestors did. The first day of the safari he showed up wearing nothing but a jock strap made of fur. 

A psychic once told Standish that he was a barbarian in an earlier life—and he fucking believed it. “I’m a barbarian at heart!” he said. “I’ve always wanted to roam the earth as a true barbarian should!” During the hunt he could be heard yelling “Yield thee, civilized degenerate weakling!”

First of all, cavemen and dinosaurs didn’t exist at the same time. Despite stories from comic books and movies, the two species lived in two separate prehistoric periods—they never crossed paths.

And secondly, the mystic-for-hire totally mislead Standish. “Maybe I ought to get in touch with that psychic who told Standish he’d been a barbarian in an earlier life,” mused Rivers. “Of course, if you believe in reincarnation, 50-odd centuries ago everybody was a barbarian, so that’s what you’d have had to be.”

The most compelling story in Rivers of Time is “The Big Splash.” On this particular safari, Reginald Rivers takes a bunch of scientists 65-million years into the past to the edge of the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction event (otherwise known as the K-T Event).

De Camp does a good job describing what it was like just before the earth was struck by a 10-km asteroid. The adventure ends in a flash, and the time travelers have to hustle to escape the oncoming big bang.  

But in a twist (there’s always a twist isn’t there?), a Stenonychosaurus leaps into the time machine at the very last moment. The “Steno,” being smarter than most reptiles, figured out a way to avoid the extinction event. And that, dear readers, was how the Steno eventually evolved into a dinosauroid, the reptilian equivalent of man. 

[Rivers of Time / By L. Sprague de Camp / First Printing: January 1993 / ISBN: 9780671721954]

The Curse of Dracula

By all accounts, Bela Lugosi didn’t have a happy ending. Career missteps, financial problems, addiction and bad health followed the actor to his grave in 1956. 

There are a flock of fans who would rather forget about Lugosi’s final days and remember instead his better days—back when he was Count Dracula, the iconic bloodsucking smooth operator. For these fans, Never Cross a Vampire by author Stuart Kaminsky helps rehabilitate Lugosi’s tainted reputation and romanticizes his twilight years. And you know what? That’s okay with me. 

The story begins when Boris Karloff contacts a private investigator named Toby Peters. Karloff is worried about his old friend. Someone has been playing games with Lugosi for over a month, sending messages written in animal blood through the mail saying, “He who mocks the vampire deserves his fate” and “Respect what you represent or suffer for it.” Most recently, someone mailed Lugosi a hat box containing a bat with a tiny stake through its heart. It was an old Hollywood story: Movie stars being harassed by over zealous fans. 

Clues point toward the Hollywood lair of the Dark Knights of Transylvania, a secret and exclusive organization dedicated to the vampiric lifestyle. Peters figures that one of these wannabe vampires is probably responsible for baiting Lugosi. He’s right. 

But who can it be? Is it Count Sforzni, the leader of the coven? The sexy Morticia Addams doppelgänger? The somber owner of a Cantonese restaurant? Or the elusive sun-deprived librarian? Maybe it’s Doctor Vampire, a stand-up comedian who dresses in Dracula drag during his nightclub shows?

The Lugosi case eventually intersects with a seemingly unrelated investigation involving William Faulkner. The famous author (currently in Hollywood working on a project for Warner Bros.) is accused of murdering a talent agent. The Faulkner case appears to be just a distracting subplot until the P.I. realizes that he’s the one linking the two mysteries together.   

The denouement comes late one night in a haunted house during a thunderstorm. In a surprising (not surprising) twist, it is Bela Lugosi, as Dracula, who brings the culprit(s) to justice. “Just another effective performance,” says the stately actor with a big self-satisfied smile on his face.

[Never Cross a Vampire / By Stuart Kaminsky / First Printing: January 1980 / ISBN: 9780312564711]