1. ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
I read this years ago, and I was terrified throughout the entire book. If I heard a noise in the house while I was reading it, I’d have to go investigate it! I’ve never had a book terrify me as much since. Ben Mears returns to his home town to write about the Marsten House, where he witnessed something terrible as a child. His arrival coincides with the new owner taking possession of the Marsten House, and darkness quickly spreads. Salem’s Lot is steeped in Gothic tradition. But it uses King’s natural gift and love for writing small towns being torn apart. The evil that seeps out of the Marsten House turns everyone against each other, resulting in a fantastically chilling novel. For me, it is quite possibly the greatest vampire book ever written.
2. Dracula by Bram Stoker
This story has been told over and over in film and television. So, it’s easy to forget how powerful the original is. Harker’s trip to Transylvania is terrifying. This masterpiece has often been imitated but rarely outdone.
3. Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
Anne Rice’s has had the most influential interpretation of vampire novels since Bram Stoker. Her vampires are elegant, disaffected, beautiful, tragic creations. While her later novels focus on Lestat, it’s Claudia, Louis and Lestat at the center of this first novel that makes it so memorable.
4. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (and the entire Twilight Series)
Okay, I admit it. I loved the Twilight series, particularly the first book. Isabella Swan and Edward Cullen make for an alluring couple. A human and a vampire couple who find themselves balancing their razor-sharp desire for each other and the danger that surrounds them. I loved it because it was so romantic and suspenseful at the same time. It’s a great love story with lots of spunk. The entire series captivated me.
5. Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris (and the True Blood Series)
How could I resist the combination of a mind-reading heroine, newly legal vampires, a serial killer, a shape-shifter? The plot is tightly woven, and the psychological effects are fascinating and disturbing at the same time! It’s a real gripper! I loved the entire series!
6. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
This is an interesting concept that is flawlessly executed! The author went the distance to create a plausible melding of vampire mayhem and history. It was well-researched, and the history was on target. It’s an unexpected surprise and a wonderful, fun read!
7. The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
This is amazingly different from the first two books (Interview with a Vampire and The Vampire Lestat) of The Vampire Chronicles. Several new characters are introduced, a number of truly old vampires we have only heard of up until now become part of the action, and the story is woven together into a mosaic much more wide in scope from what has come before. It’s Lestat’s book, but he isn’t the focus. He narrates his own role in events, but much of the book is written in the third person. The action is spread out over six thousand years from one end of the world to the other, with a lot of mythology taking the place of the energetic action of the earlier novels.
8. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel is one of the greatest vampire stories ever written. Robert Neville is the sole survivor of a vampire plague. He lives in a boarded up house which he only leaves during the daytime to hunt. At night, the monsters return the favor, taunting him through the boarded-up windows. The power of his isolation and the powerful moral twist of the book’s finale make it a must-read.
9. The Shepherd by Travis Luedke
I have to include my friend Travis Luedke’s book, The Shepherd. It totally took me by surprise. From the uncensored male teen dialogue to the games girls will play, I totally returned to high school. Travis captured the entire clique strata. The story is about Mike, who has had visions that he doesn’t discuss. His life is depressing with an unemployed, emotionally absent, alcoholic father. Then, we meet Nadia, a young girl Mike nearly hits with his car. She is quirky and mysterious, and she totally connects to Mike. We don’t know who she is, where she’s from or why she acts as if she’s always known Mike. Strange and awful things begin to happen, and Nadia is the key. Travis keeps this tale going in high gear with twists and revelations and will captivate you all the way to the end.
10. The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas
Stephen King said he couldn’t put this book down. I think he called it “unputdownable.” I agree. Even though the New York Times Book Review called it one of the genre’s few modern classics, it hasn’t gotten much notice. Try it. You’ll like it!
Til Next Time!