“THE BLAIRFIELD CALLER”
by Melvin Rivers, 2015
Stan Jones, a talk show host of a paranormal radio show, has a dark secret. And someone wanting the truth to come out is willing to turn to the paranormal for revenge. What follows is a classic vampire story: a vampire appears in town, people start dying, people start coming back from the dead, and the good guys begin to gather wooden stakes and crosses. What's different is that this vampire seeks revenge for the death of a loved one.
This plot has a lot of potential. The take-off on the late-night radio program, “Coast to Coast” was a nice angle. But while the story is told in a straight-forward manner, the actual writing could be tightened a bit.
There are a lot of dropped words (“What you know about the next guest?”), sound-alike words (forgiven for forgiving), misspelled words (lumbar yard), and a few run-on sentences (“He did mention something to me over the phone the other day that what he has to say might have bad consequences for our town.”) that a good proofreader would have caught.
Other curiosities occur. At one point, a character asks an old lady where Stan Jones lives. She has no idea. A few lines later, without any intimidation or prompting, he repeats his question. She now gives him precise directions.
And let's clarify this exchange: “Fangs?” “Yessir. Like the ones you see on shepherds and wolves.” I'm guessing that the German shepherd breed of dog is referred to, not sheep-herders.
“Maximillion. That’s short for Max.” I believe it's the other way around. I could be wrong.
But there are some clever bits as well. I especially liked the imagery of this line: “The mouth of the wall’s hole appeared to be laughing with a wicked smile...”
There are also bits that are hard to believe. The local constabulary, informed that the caller Max has killed a nurse, spend all their efforts trying to pin something on Stan. And what is Stan's terrible crime? He ran over a teenager on a rainy night. Seriously, a person might get sued, but no one goes to jail for that, certainly not for fifteen years. It's called an accident.
When Stan's best friend is killed, Stan does the natural thing in a horror novel—he has sex. Personally, no matter how horny I was, I think I could wait a respectful amount of time.
Despite numerous proofreading errors, “The Blairfield Caller” has an acceptable story. With more attention to grammar, it would be easier to read and less distracting.