Dracula Cha Cha Cha
Vampires have infested our pop-culture for decades now. They started out as the classy, yet ghoulish, fiend written by Stoker one hundred and fifteen years-ago, and (since then) have somehow transformed into the glittering pretty people of pre-teen blockbusters. Fortunately it does not end there and we can still get a vampire story that doesn’t involve hundred year-old dead guys knocking up there teenage girl friend, then biting the baby out of her belly.
Dracula Cha Cha Cha is the third book of the Anno Dracula series, a trilogy by author Kim Newman, that brings the mythos of the bloodsucker back around to where it began; with Count Dracula. Not that the Count is in the book all that much, he makes a brief appearance, but I don’t want to spoil anything and we’re not quite there yet anyways. The story takes place in 1959 and is centered on a vampire reporter, Katharine Reed. Reed, an Irishwoman, has been at odds with the Count since she turned Vampire in the late 19th century and has flown to Rome to report on Dracula’s recently announced wedding to the Princess Asa Vajda. Unfortunately for Kate Reed, the upcoming nuptials are not all that is going on in Rome when she arrives. Her former friend and long-time rival is managing Dracula’s wedding; a familiar English spy is chasing down a mad man and his white cat; and on top of all that, there’s a laughing lunatic in red tights killing all the vampire elders arriving in Rome. Oh yeah, and Rome’s oldest goddess maybe kicking around somewhere too.
I don’t know how the vampire enthusiast will feel about Dracula Cha Cha Cha, but it is a walking history lesson for fans of late ’50’s era pop-culture. Sometimes, almost to a fault. I think it was about when the blue spandex wearing Kent and the Addams family made their appearances that I lost interest in the main story and instead treated the book like a literate “where’s Waldo” by trying to spot the next movie star or film reference. However this barrage of movie and historical references does not mean it’s a bad book. I enjoyed Newman’s humor and his take on vampires. There was a quixotic weirdness to the main characters adventures that made reading the book fun, but I feel the books summation was murky (probably not the best word, but the closest to how I felt about the last few chapters of the book) and felt a little rushed. Overall, I say give it a read and enjoy the book for it’s weird quirkiness and movie star surprises.