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Craig's Book Club
Book Reviews and Recommendations

Spotlight on: Blood Red by James A. Moore


To arrange to have products considered for review, send an email to craigsbookclub@yahoo.com.


Blood Red by James A. Moore James A. Moore, Blood Red

The crows have come to Black Stone Bay, Rhode Island; they are the first sign that something is wrong in this Southern New England town (that looks suspiciously like Newport). New neighbor Jason Soulis is making odd requests and local children are disappearing, then reappearing with golden eyes. Meanwhile, the clergy are finding their faiths challenged by an especially adept local prostitute / student.

As a combination vampire novel and zombie thriller, this book fills its horror ambitions well, with vampires that harken back to the days of Nosferatu; they are anything but sexy, with their pasty (sometimes crusty) complexions, and their eerie eyes filled with some sort of Quakerish inner-light.

James A. Moore is a good storyteller. I only wish he showed more control over his words. He writes like a diarist with an endless supply of ink, and shows seemingly little interest in tightness or pacing. His imagination is terrific, but he really needs a brutal editor with tight reins to help him shine.

Unfortunately, even this would be difficult because Moore's style is anything but fluid, with a sentence structure that tends toward the confusing. This, most of all, was what made me put down Rabid Growth after only fifteen pages (that said, Moore himself has stated that even he doesn't like that book), and it made Blood Red an absolute trial to get through.

If the author was supposed to grab me with the first page, however, he succeeded with Blood Red. Unfortunately, he then dragged me over a long, winding path instead of taking the direct route. Even Simon Clark's introduction seems to struggle to find something good to say about Moore, going on about crows for a while before relying on some suspect compliments at the end. ("Easy-going, loquacious style"? In my book, that translates into "slow and wordy.") As the action speeds up, however, he drops this quirk and gets down to business. Caught up in his own excitement with the plot and simply trying to get the words down as quickly as he can, Moore allows us to finally get caught up in the story. But as soon as things slow down again — when he is setting a mood or introducing a character — he resumes the sluggish pacing.

Descriptions are not the only drawback; conversations also go on far longer than they should. Still, he does manage to keep a dozen major characters separate and individual. Even the two policemen get special attention, something that is almost unheard of in horror. By focusing on making his protagonists real and not just icons, it's actually the antagonist who suffers here, with mastermind Soulis ("Soul-less", perhaps?) appearing as little more than his ambitions. Nevertheless, the characterization and an imaginative plot keep Blood Red from becoming just another in the seemingly endless series of mass-produced vampire novels.


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