Title: Killing Kiss (Book 1 of the Vampire Gene Trilogy)
Author: Sam Stone
Publisher: The House of Murky Depths
Publication Date: Sep 2008
Paperback: 240 pages
Genre: Horror, Vampires
REVIEWED BY LAURA
RATING: 6/10 – good
BACK COVER SUMMARY:
He’s looking for a girl; not just any girl, and dark haired, brown-eyed Carolyn is the one. But does Gabriele Caccini, a student at Manchester University, really know what he wants? When a beautiful curvaceous blonde comes into his life he starts to question his motives and emotions; even a Seventeenth Century vampire can do that.
Alone in the modern world, limiting his feeds to one a year to avoid detection, Gabriele reflects on the origins of his immortality and questions why it is he who should have the vampire gene, when over four hundred women have not survived his killing kiss…
But at a house party, a fellow student spikes Gabriele’s drink with drugs and his self-indulgent musings are suddenly, turned upside down…
‘Killing Kiss‘ is the story of Gabriele, a Seventeenth Century vampire, and a Manchester University student. It is a dark, and somewhat edgy book.
Gabriele is entirely alone in the world since he was accidentally turned into a vampire, and then abandoned by his maker. He lives in the outskirts of society.
To keep his existence under the radar he only allows himself one feed a year. The choosing of each year’s victim is an all consuming and important task for Gabriele. He seduces and stalks the woman like the serial killer that he is. That woman always has the same characteristics. She is dark, slim, quiet, reserved and a virgin.
It is very difficult to turn a human into a vampire and no-one knows why one person survives and another dies. So every year Gabriele chooses carefully, and every year devastatingly, she dies. He would know, he has four hundred trophies to remind himself.
This year is unlike any other, he has chosen his prey and has begun stalking her with single minded determination. But, this year something distracts him. A beautiful and curvaceous woman called Lilly, who has every male student on campus panting. Of course she is not Gabriele’s type. Gabriele has already chosen the dark haired Carolyn who fits his requirements perfectly.
However, despite hundreds of years of planning and control, Gabriele quickly discovers it only takes one small action to disrupt even the best laid plans. It comes in the shape on a simple spiked drink and suddenly everything changes.
The story is mixed in equal parts with Gabriele or Jay’s, as he is known currently, life in the modern day and his reflections of his past. As his thinks about how he became a vampire and his life since. The women he’s loved and killed, some even his wives. He takes us on a macabre and occasionally desolate journey.
When I first started the book I struggled to engage with Gabriele. Instead of coming across as a dark, sexy and gothic hero, initially he seems more like a horny, teenage boy. There’s something sleazy about his pursuit of the innocent Carolyn that was not only sinister, but made my skin crawl. But on reflection, I think this was perhaps the author’s intended effect.
I can’t really talk about them without throwing in some spoilers which I’m reluctant to do, but there were a few things in the narrative that made me feel uncomfortable. In particular an unexpected revelation towards the end. But, again even as I think about it, I think this is on purpose. It is meant to set the reader slightly on edge and to break stereotypical moulds. To make this an unusual and deliberately different vampire novel.
This book is deceptively compelling. Like that alcoholic drink you shouldn’t like but can’t resist having just one more of. It is a purposely different, contemporary horror. And I find I am curious despite myself, to know where the author takes it next.
SOURCE: Thank you to the author for giving BCC this book to review.
REVIEWED BY LAURA