The Pine Deep Trilogy
Jonathan Maberry, 2006-2008, 1588 p.
Have you noticed that vampires seem to be “in” right at the moment? Books and television and films are swarming with vampires and vampire knockoffs (like zombies, whom I’ve always thought of as vampires’ slow-witted hillbilly cousins). There are (or were) Angel and Spike and Edward and probably a bunch of other pretty-boy vampires running around glistening from head to toe and causing beautiful women to swoon and fall at their feet. Vampires are the teen idols of the past couple of decades, but it isn’t only teens that are gaga over these pointy-toothed Lotharios—older women love them too. All a vampire has to do is stare all twirly-eyed at his chosen prey, and the woman is his, forever and ever and ever, world without end.
I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t know why women are so enthralled by vampires. There is a great deal of latent and overt sexuality in many vampire stories, (most especially Dracula), but does this entirely account for female fascination with these undead bloodsuckers? Maybe they represent the “bad boy” some women seem to be drawn to time and time again: the guy who smokes and drinks too much and rides a Harley and listens to hardcore thrash metal. This guy only smacks his woman around a little bit, at least in the beginning…
It seems like vampires have been romanticized to such an extent that they don’t even resemble themselves anymore. What happened to the terrifying Klaus Kinski “Nosferatu” types of vampires from the good old days? What happened to the slightly more palatable Christopher Lees and Gary Oldmans of yore? When did these guys become the overly conscientious and nauseatingly remorseful Brad Pitts and Robert Pattinsons?
Vampires are supposed to be EVIL, not pretty. They do not love; they do not care, they will not save your life—they’ll destroy it. They are killing machines. A little blood will not satisfy them; they must have it all, all night long. Enough of this saccharine debasement of true vampire legends! Vampires deserve to be reinstated to their former glory as the most ferocious monsters in monsterdom. Vampires must rule the kingdom of the unholy once more!
So it is with great pleasure that I bring you the Pine Deep Trilogy by Jonathan Maberry. Finally, vampires have been put back in their place at the top of the undead heap. The first book starts with a bang: three bad guys are speeding through Pine Deep and have an automobile accident. The leader of the bad guys is badder than just about any character I’ve ever encountered in fiction. His name is Karl Ruger, and once he gets going, there’s no stopping him, especially after he joins the ranks of the undead. I hated Ruger–hated, hated, HATED him. He scared me half to death a few times as well.
The novels are action-packed from beginning to end, and, speaking of the end, the ending is one of the finest I’ve ever read in the horror fiction genre. I was on the edge of my seat during the entire climactic vampire/human battle scene. It has been a long time since I’ve felt such anxiety while reading a book, and boy was I sweating this one!
I learned a few things from these novels too:
1. A werewolf that has been killed but not totally destroyed (i.e. cremation) can be resurrected as a vampire.
2. A Dhampyr is the child of a vampire father and a human mother.
Dampyr’s can become efficient vampire slayers.
I’m not the only reader who was impressed by these novels: Ghost Road Blues won the Bram Stoker award for “Best First Novel” in 2006. It deserved the award, and Maberry deserves even more recognition.
Read these if you want to destroy your manicure!