Archive for darkened hills review

★★★★★ The blood is the life…

Posted in Book reviews with tags , , , , , , , on October 9, 2011 by Gary Lee Vincent

The blood is the life…, October 8, 2011
By Teresa Pollak (West Virginia, USA)

This review is for: Darkened Hills (Paperback)
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Darkened Hills by Gary Lee VincentThe Blood is the Life….as the quote goes, but for me, the ink is the life, and man does it come alive on the pages of this book!!! I really suspected I was going to love this book before I even began, and, true to form, Mr. Vincent did not disappoint. I ABSOLUTELY loved the tribute to classic Victorian horror novels present in this work. Vincent makes his vampires like they are supposed to be: scary, ruthless, lustful, and INCREDIBLY bloodthirsty. No, their skin doesn’t sparkle when sunlight touches them, so if you want vampires like that, look elsewhere. Who the hell wants to read about vampires that can go out in the sun anyway? That takes away the whole climactic scene in the classic vampire tales where our band of rag-tag heroes wage battle against the vampire just as the last rays of sun disappear beyond the horizon! And so it goes in this book. I think this book is exactly what we, as a vampire obsessed society needs: an example of how great a REAL vampire story can get. I have read some criticism of this work that rabidly insists Mr. Vincent “stole” this idea from Stephen King’s “‘Salem’s Lot”, which is a load of sh*t. That is akin to saying that H.P. Lovecraft “stole” Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” when he wrote his story “Herbert West: Re-Animator” just because both have mad scientists working on bringing corpses to life! So if there is anyone out here who is shying away from reading this book due to such a rabid and uncalled for comparison, let’s put the myth to bed right now: Darkened Hills is as much like “‘salem’s Lot” as “Twilight” is to “Dracula”! (And yes, I have read all these works, so I feel authorized to make the comparison).

Actually, Vincent’s book is MUCH more Victorian and Gothic stylistically. I kept thinking of the layout of “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” because of the semi-epistolary feel of some of the sections. For example, the section in which Harker and William are watching “Ghostowns” and see their hometown of Melas, WV on the TV is described in much the same way that the “Bloofer” lady is described in “Dracula.” Whereas Stoker uses an “excerpt” from the local paper, Vincent uses images of the TV segment, complete with intermediary statements like “Camera cuts to footage of a large prison-like structure going up in flames. Reporter continues:” This type of writing has been lost to the ages, and Vincent gracefully resurrects it in this work. The short chapters, and easily digestible “bits” told from many different characters’ perspectives gives the reader a feel of observation and objectivity, rather than feeling as though we are stuck with one narrator’s version of events through the entire book. It also lends itself to the feeling of serialization that Gothic works often used due to the fact that they were published piece by piece in newspapers of the age. I honestly can’t remember a book that seems so genuinely Gothic in scope, but yet so contemporary at the same time. I really don’t think many writers could pull it off. Kudos, Mr. Vincent.

All in all, I would certainly recommend this book to any and all, ESPECIALLY for this time of the year. This is a very fast paced read, and even if you are an incredibly busy person, you can pick this book up, bang out a couple pages, and easily make it to a “break” until the next time you get a few minutes. Everyone in WV should certainly read this book, and feel proud to have such a talented writer living so close, oozing his oddity amongst us! The characters are very well developed, the plotline is seamless (until the cliffhanger at the end, of course, but that is what the second installment is for!), and the writing is VERY refreshing compared to most of the crap that has been deluging vampire lit for the last decade or so. Thank you SO much, Mr. Vincent, for reminding us all what vampires used to be, and how fun they can still be!
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