V is for Vampire: An Illustrated Alphabet of the Undead by Adam-Troy Castro; Harper Voyager; 2011; 64 pgs; $16.99 US

Let me guess, the summer is winding down and you are looking for a fun, short read that does not burn up too many grey cells. You know, to cap off the warm days and steel yourself against the coming gloom. I have just the ticket for you; V is for Vampire by Adam-Troy Castro. The author has created “an illustrated alphabet of the undead,” defining and describing each letter through the clever and comical summary of film, literary, and media references to monsters we all love so much.

In Castro’s book, “W is for wolves,” and he tells us about how vampires can transform into wolves and draws the line between thatsort of Canis lupus and werewolves which, if you know your horror film history at all, you will recall are different sorts of beasts altogether. “G is for Garlic” and “H is for Hypnotism.” There are also many entries which are a good deal less obvious, and that is where the book is its most interesting and humorous. For example, “J is for Just Some Goddamned Cat” where the cat is always a signal of something bad about to happen, and “T is for Tombs for the Budget-Conscious” where Castro explores the unsavory places vampires seek shelter when they cannot get back to their comfortable coffins. Each entry is illustrated by Johnny Atomic, and the book itself is delivered in nice printed boards, heavy on the red.

This is a great book to read as the beaches are closing or while you are waiting for the flight home. It is the perfect period on a long holiday. Recommended.


Aug 31, 2011

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