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Blog Tour || Love Bites: Favourite Vampire Stories by Mark A. Latham

Love Bites: Favourite Vampire Stories
Mark A Latham

It’s no secret that The Iscariot Sanction introduces vampires – or the dreaded ‘wampyr’ – to the mythos of the Apollonian Casefiles. Wait… is it a secret? Maybe it is. Not any more!

Like many people who’re into the strange and macabre side of fiction, I’ve read hundreds of vampire stories over the years, ranging from the terrifying to the mundane, the sublime to those that… suck. For my money, there’s no better setting than nineteenth century for a vampire story, especially foggy old London, although not all of my favourites hearken from that period

Here then, are my all-time favourite Vampire stories

bram_stokers_dracula_1Dracula (Bram Stoker)
The granddaddy of all vampire tales, Dracula remains one of my favourite novels, and one that I’ll be revisiting rather more overtly in the future. As a character, I think Count Dracula has been rather done to death, but as a concept, it’s easy to see how thrilling the book was at the time of its release. Evoking Victorian fears of the unknown, the sensual, and the exotic ‘other’ from the mysterious east, Stoker conjures a growing atmosphere of dread that remains as effective today as the time it was written. The influence of Dracula on my work can unashamedly be seen in the Lazarus Gate, with the tortured, inhuman Artist dwelling a secluded life in his crumbling, gothic lair, ready to exact misery on all who cross him

interviewwiththevampireInterview with the Vampire (Anne Rice)
Possibly overlooked in many people’s vampire pantheon, perhaps due to some dire sequels and a very average movie adaptation, Interview with the Vampire and its immediate successor, The Vampire Lestat, had a profound influence on me as a youth (if I hadn’t read these books, I’d probably never have had my goth phase, but that’s a story for another day). The voice of the tortured narrator, Louis, has such a sense of melancholy, and such authenticity, that to this day people travel to New Orleans convinced that Louis and Lestat are real, and that they may find them if they follow the clues. It was this that inspired my own quest for period authenticity, and to be honest the contrast in styles between the sober Lazarus Gate and the more action-orientated Iscariot Sanction was probably inspired by Rice’s first two Vampire Chronicles books

case-book_of_sherlock_holmesThe Adventure of the Sussex Vampire (Arthur Conan Doyle)
Not technically a vampire story at all, although it very much addresses head-on the Victorian fascination with vampire mythology, this story pits the famous detective Sherlock Holmes against a creature that feasts on the blood of a baby. A rather sinister tale, the story again plays on the Victorian’s colonial sensibilities, and their innate mistrust of foreigners – the baby’s mother is Peruvian, as is her maid, and so the child’s English father is ready to believe that they have inadvertently brought some legendary, bloodsucking creature to these shores with them. [SPOILERS] Of course, the culprit is actually the man’s son from his first marriage, slightly unhinged and consumed with jealousy at daddy’s exotic bride. This child-on-child crime doubtless brought back memories of the infamous Road Hill House murders of 1865, which lingered in the Victorian popular imagination for many years, undying… like a vampire

straindeltorohogancoverThe Strain (Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan)
One thing I really wanted to do with the Iscariot Sanction was make vampires scary again. For too long they’d been the tortured, miserable antagonists of latter-day gothic romance, more concerned with languidly bemoaning their lot in (un)life and finding love than actually, y’know, scaring the bejeezus out of people and feasting on their blood. Del Toro and Hogan started the ball rolling with The Strain trilogy. While it perhaps strays too far into zombie tropes (and invokes Dracula… again), this is a stunning attempt at making a modern vampire fable, with CDC doctors trying to find a cure for the vampire plague sweeping their city, while a Van Helsing-esque vampire hunter takes a more esoteric approach to destroying the mutated, grotesque undead


Check out the other stops on Mark Latham’s Blog spot tour here:

Pardon My Writings – How to Write the Perfect Scary Scene by Mark Latham

The Bookish Outsider: Top Tips and When To Ignore Them by Mark Latham

Literature and Tea Blogspot:

The Reading Lodge: Making Vamps Scary by Mark Latham

RisingShadow.net: The Devil’s In The [Period] Detail by Mark Latham

WeGeekGirls.com

The Iscariot Sanction is out now! Make sure to continue the Alternate Reality blog tour with Mark Latham by checking the other blogs listed below:

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