Wednesday, June 15, 2011


NecroscopeA common criticism of Cold-War era spy novels is that they do not have enough vampires. Brian Lumley addresses that problem in Necroscope, where Harry Keogh saves the world from monsters and Communism.

For those of you who don't know Latin, a Necroscope is someone who can scope the dead, which means Harry can have pleasant chats with the deceased to learn their secrets and even absorb their powers for his own. This ability comes in handy when Harry is enlisted by British Intelligence's ESP branch to fight a KGB vampire named Boris Dragosani.

This plot sounds ridiculous and you're probably wondering if Brian Lumley is a twelve year old who isn't quite all there, but this book is awesome, largely because the writing is so good. Lumley's prose reminds me of a Savile Row suit. It's crisp, understated, and distinctly British. It has an authority that makes the lunatic plot sound almost plausible.

The book also has one of the greatest cover illustrations I have ever seen. Do you see that vampire skull with a tongue coming out of it that looks like it wants to violate you? How creepy is that?

I feel like I'm not selling this book enough, so I'll just finish by saying that any fan of Dick Francis will like this book. It's British and fun and is more intellectually satisfying than a book with a vampire skull on the cover should be. It's a great read.