I have a love/hate relationship with vampires. They can be done very well as monsters that embody evil or be nothing more than vessels for channeling angst. When I saw “Seize the Night” edited by Christopher Golden, I was a little hesitant to dive in for this reason. The book promised that these were stories as vampires as terrifying monsters rather than brooding boors so I thought I would give the book a chance and if the book could deliver what it promised.
“Seize the Night” is a anthology of short stories from some of the biggest names in horror today. Among the contributors are Charlaine Harris, Seth Smith, Brian Keene, Kelley Armstrong and Laird Barron to name a few. These are authors that have won acclaim for different reasons but are not necessarily the first names that come to mind when the reader thinks of vampire. Or at least not always. I was encouraged by the lineup as some of my personal favorites were included and gave me hope that this would be a good collection of stories.
One of the stories that stood out to me was “Mother” by Joe McKinney. The story tells the tale of cryptozoologists, one who is into sensationalism and showmanship (and this rich and famous) and one who is studious and scientific (thus poor and unknown), who are chasing rumors of a chupacabra and find something very different and much worse. This story plays upon the difference between real science and pseudoscientific showmanship that has been covered a million times yet McKinney gives the story his own twist to craft a 5 star story.
“Paper Cuts” by Gary A. Braunbeck is another story that sticks out for me. This was surprising because I am not really a fan of his work and often find my mind wandering when I read something by him. This story, however, cut right to the chase (bad pun intended) and I was quickly and completely immersed in the story. I do not know that this is really a vampire story, at least in the classical sense, but it is a very strong story that may have me giving the author another chance.
A couple other stories that stand out for me are “In a Cavern, In a Cave” by Laird Barron about the search for a missing dog that leads to the discovery of something much different and “Last Supper” by Brian Keene about a vampire after an apocalyptic plague has ravaged the Earth. Rio Youers, who is becoming a favorite of mine, also chips in with the very good “Separator” about a land developer’s unexpected adventure in the Philippines.
There were some other enjoyable stories in the anthology as well as some that fell flat but overall I would have to say that I enjoyed “Seize the Night” and would recommend it to fans of horror and vampires. The stories were a bit of a mixed bag, as is often the case in an anthology and especially in a themed anthology, but there were more good stories than bad ones and a couple very good stories. If you are for a fright on a cold winter’s night, give this book a chance for some fang-enhanced fun.
I would like to thank Gallery and NetGalley for this review copy. “Seize the Night” is available now.