From Publishers Weekly
As the editors observe in their introduction, vampirism of one kind or another is a central motif of New England's post-Puritan nightmares. Unfortunately, the 10 stories of this collection--the first volume of Cumberland's American Vampire Series--don't quite do the nightmare justice. Too often attention to voice or setting drains the blood out of a promising tale, while most settle for stock foreshadowing devices--watch out for light-sensitive Hungarians in black. All but one of the stories have been previously published, and only a few deserve the honor. Chief among these are H.P. Lovecraft's eerie 1937 tale "The Shunned House," which bears the master's singular stamp and ties itself off with a neat twist, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch's recent "The Beautiful and the Damned," narrated by the grandson of Gatsby narrator Nick Carraway. Although Rusch is no Fitzgerald, it's fun to watch her literalize the metaphorical vampirism that haunts so much of his fiction. The rest are most likely to please those enthusiasts of the upper mainland states who don't mind when a vampire story fails to keep them up at night.
Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In "Secret Societies," written by editor Schimel (Drag Queen of Elfland, LJ 5/15/97) and the one piece in this entertaining collection that has not been previously published, a young man at Yale meets a group of vampires who quench their thirst for knowledge by imbibing the blood of someone learned. In "Investigating Jericho" by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (noted for her novels about the vampire hero Count Saint-Germain), the protagonist is an IRS agent who uncovers a nest of tax-evading undead inhabiting a small New Hampshire town. Sarah Smith's "The Beautiful, the Damned" is a sensual story of a young woman's meeting with a seductive vampire, who introduces her to the powerful world of those who thrive on blood. Also included in this collection are two often anthologized works: Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman's "Luella Miller" and Manly Wade Wellman's "Chastel." This anthology, from the publisher's "American Vampire" series, will appeal primarily to libraries with Americana collections.?Patricia Altner, Information Seekers, Bowie, Md.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.