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Faith n' Begorrah! Vampires!


by Tony-Paul de Vissage, 2011

Rustic hicks come under the threat of the dreaded dearg-due, the Irish Undead, in de Vissage's novelette, as the village of Ballywalegh finds a vampire in their midst. Or is he?

The hero, Seamus Flannery, is a no-nonsense family man, who doesn't believe the old wives' tales about the dearg-due. He thinks the new neighbor from Hungary is just a tad queer. He even invites him to the local festival. But will Seamus regret it when the handsome young stranger shows an interest in his daughter, Brigid?

This is a fun little story, reminiscent of old black & white movies of the 1930s, like Son of Dracula and Condemned to Live. Things in Ballywalegh are not as they seem... and yet they are. Sort of.

The superstitious villagers are likeable as are the mysterious strangers in their midst. The plot is original and interesting and laid out in a manner to invoke mystery and suspense. The pace is fast where it needs to be and relaxed where it should be. The book is short but if you like light-hearted adventure, supernatural horror, or even romance, it's worth a read.

Anyone having read his other works would know de Vissage to be familiar with French and Transylvanian customs, lore, and language. But here we see he knows a great deal about the Irish and the fads and customs of the 1920s.

I do love de Vissage's use of authentic, thick Irish accents. Some might decry this as making fun of the semi-literate peasants, but truthfully, Irish accents are nigh incomprehensible. If anything, TPV could have made them even thicker, though that would make the book harder to read.

I do have a couple technical quibbles:

Karel Novotny is described as not appearing bestial and horrific like the traditional dearg-due, and Flannary compares him to a movie-matinee vampire. But the story occurs in 1929, two years before Béla Lugosi portrayed the first suave vampire in motion picture history. Prior to 1929, the only vampire on film was Max Schreck's grotesque Nosferatu.

The vampires feed on cattle blood, delivered to them from the butcher as carcasses. The problem is that butcher shops hang up cows and bleed them before they're sold to the public. Otherwise the blood discolors the meat. There is some blood left in the carcasses, but not much. Better to buy a few head of cattle and feed on them periodically.

Still, those are small points and do not detract from the story. “Vampires are Forever” is a fun tale of monsters and misunderstandings.

5 stars.

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