Vampyres of Hollywood
Adrienne Barbeau &
Published 2008 325 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Hollywood, California: three gruesome deaths within two weeks and every one of them a major star - an Oscar winner, an ingénue, and an action hero. A serial killer is working through the Hollywood A-list and celebrities are running scared.
Each crime scene is worthy of a classic horror movie, and all three victims share a connection to the powerful scream queen, Ovsanna Moore. The stunning and formidable Moore is the legendary head of a Hollywood studio, as well as the writer and star of seventeen blockbuster horror films (and a few that went straight to DVD).
She’s also a 500 year old vampyre… but this is Hollywood after all, and no one ever looks their age.
Beverly Hills Police Detective Peter King knows a lot about the City of Angels, but he certainly doesn’t know that most of the famous actors in town are actually an established network of vampires. Or that secretive and seductive Ovsanna Moore happens to be their CEO.
Moore and King may be from opposite sides of the Hollywood Hills, but both have something to gain by stopping the killer who the tabloids have dubbed the Cinema Slayer. Ovsanna must protect her vampire legacy and her production schedule, while King just wants to keep his Beverly Hills beat as blood-free as possible. But when the horror queen and the cop with the movie star looks form an unholy alliance, sparks fly and so do the creatures of the night.
Vampyres of Hollywood is written by actress Adrienne Barbeau, well known to horror movie fans for films such as The Fog, Escape from New York and Swamp Thing. She has previously written There Are Worse Things I Could Do (her autobiography) but this is her first foray into fiction. Michael Scott (author of many books, including bestseller The Alchemyst) is the book’s co-author. Between them the pair has a wide range of experience – both of the Hollywood lifestyle, movie history and fantasy horror – and this clearly demonstrated through out the course of the novel.
Vampyres of Hollywood is written in first person from the perspectives of both Ovsanna (vampyre movie star) and Peter King (Beverly Hills police detective). They take turns in narrating the story on a chapter-by-chapter basis, each of them telling the story from their own point of view and in their own unique voice. On the whole, their characters are well realized. Peter seems believable as an experienced police detective who has been tasked with quickly solving the Cinema Slayer murders but unfortunately Ovsanna isn’t so engaging.
For me, the main problem with Ovsanna’s character is her constant name dropping. Yes, she’s nearly 500 years old but it seems unlikely that she has spent the whole time socializing and influencing every great artist, musician, statesman or King throughout history. According to her though, she has been to practically every historical event worthy of note in the last 500 years! The names of her famous past conquests/lovers/friends are just thrown into the narrative and are not expanded upon, which serves to further emphasize the emptiness (and pointlessness) of the claims. Ovsanna Moore may have been the inspiration for the whole impressionist movement; she may have driven Van Gogh mad but I couldn’t suspend my disbelief for long enough to believe it. By the end of the book I just found it irritating.
Still, Vampyres of Hollywood isn’t a book that takes itself too seriously. Evidence of this is in the great cover quote from film director John Carpenter (Adrienne’s ex-husband) - “Sexy, funny, and gory – and that’s just the first chapter. If I’d known she could write like this, I would’ve stuck around a little longer.” And he’s not wrong - Vampyres of Hollywood is certainly both funny and gory.
Ultimately, Vampyres of Hollywood makes for a fast-paced read and with its wealth of details about Hollywood it shouldn’t fail to appeal to vampire fiction fans with an interest in classic Hollywood and the movies. Gory horror scenes and an imaginative use of vampire myth mean that it has plenty of content for horror fans too but the true strength of this book definitely lies in its Hollywood setting.
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