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Book Review

Book Cover

The Vampire Gene
Book 1 - Killing Kiss


Author: Sam Stone
Publisher: Telos Publishing
RRP: £9.99
ISBN: 978 1 84583 913 0
Publication Date: 31 August 2015

Gabriele Caccini is an unusual student at Manchester University. Outwardly unusual as he appears to have wealthy parents and so wants for nothing, inwardly unusual because he is a vampire. Through hundreds of years Gabriele has sort to make another like him and this time he believes that a fellow student, Carolyn, may be the one. But at one fateful party his drink is spiked with drugs fully releasing his hedonistic side, but not in Carolyn’s direction...

The Vampire Gene: Book 1 - Killing Kiss (2007. 228 pages) is the first of a series of books by Sam Stone. I am in the odd position of having started this series with book three Demon Dance which I liked for being a well balanced story, with some interesting twists. How my opinion would have changed had I started with the first volume.

All writers have their own heroes who have provided inspiration, and for Stone the most obvious influence is that of Anne Rice. Gabe was turned in the 17th Century and to get some idea of what has been happening to him these last hundreds of year, the book is structured so that each part which happens in the present, is followed by some of the back story.

Sometimes this is used to contrast or illuminate certain aspects of the story, for instance Gabe’s turning is mirrored by him turning Lilly. For the most part they seem a little disconnected and occasionally transition from one time frame to another interrupted the flow of the story for no good reason.

As the main protagonist, Gabe is a sympathetic character, never having consciously asked for the life which had been thrust upon him, or as sympathetic as a killer can be. Vampires come with their own social mores, so Gabe is hansom, strong, he has a variable moral compass, especially where sex is concerned and is all round ripe meat to star in a pseudo rape fantasy which many of the sex scenes feel like. Stone does what a lot of women writers do, and write their males as an extension of their own fantasies which bear little resemblance to how men really think.

This is essentially an introduction book, which sets up the rest of the series, as such, putting aside the historical aspects, little dramatic happens. It difficult to highly recommend it as a standalone novel as there is something a little amateurish about the writing, but it’s worth picking up as part of the series as once Stone stops trying to be a poor man’s Anne Rice, the series develops into something of its own and something worth reading.


Charles Packer

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