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VAMPIRE CIRCUS
by Mark Morris
Hammer, October 2012
352 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0099556278


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Ten years previously, several children went missing from the town of Shettle. Three men, teacher Nick Miller, private investigator Chris Blaine and doctor John Kersh confront the killer at the mysterious Mitre House and in the ensuing battle the house is burned to the ground. With his dying breath, the killer curses the town and promises that their children will die to bring him back to life.

Ten years on and the town is in decline. Unemployment and crime are rife. Then a circus arrives in town and suddenly everyone can talk of nothing else. The populace is compelled to attend the performance. Certain individuals, though, are starting to be aware that their brains are not working properly and they cannot remember the events of ten years ago that had a devastating effect on their lives. Then a "barrier of sickness" encircles the town and no-one can enter or leave. More people disappear and mutilated corpses are found in the woods. Most of the town is enthralled by the circus and it is down to the original three witnesses, plus Lynette Michaels, a young reporter who as a girl narrowly escaped the original murders, to save the town from the curse of the immortal killer.

One of a range of novelisations of classic Hammer films, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing in this book. The tension is built nicely as the central characters come to the realisation that the minds of the whole town are being controlled, as well as recovering some of their own suppressed memories. Slowly they remember and realise that their own families are the first targets.

The contrast between the magical world of the vampires and the pragmatic world of the humans trying to fight them is emphasised as the climax of the book is reached first at a local church and finally beneath the ruins of Mitre House. The body count by the end of the book is impressive, but the author wisely implies most of the violence rather than describing it directly.

These are not the cuddly vampires with a conscience of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the Twilight saga. They are ancient and evil and implacable in their determination to resurrect their fallen brother or die in the attempt.

Sylvia Wilson is a professional veterinary surgeon and amateur singer and actor who lives in Gloucestershire, England with her husband, dog, and horses.

Reviewed by Sylvia Wilson, April 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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