cover image London Under Midnight

London Under Midnight

Simon Clark. Severn House Publishers, $27.95 (214pp) ISBN 978-0-7278-6398-0

Clark's efforts at an original variation on the vampire theme yield a novel whose plot is farfetched even by the standards of supernatural fiction. Journalist Ben Ashton is researching the origins of a graffiti tag scrawled around London warning of ""Vampire Sharkz"" when he encounters a real vampire in the person of unrequited flame April Connor. April is one of a rapidly growing pack of vampirized mortals doing the bidding of Edshu, an African trickster god who, for reasons murkily elaborated, is using London, and his antagonism of Ben specifically, as a means of testing the moral mettle of all humanity. Much mayhem ensues before Ben discovers that the only effective way to eliminate the vampire scourge is through the power of positive thinking. Clark (Darkness Demands) keeps the action brisk and the gore pulsing, but the novel's events are so contrived that they have to be explained for the reader's benefit in windy oratory passages from an eccentric displaced African preacher, who's the only one who can make any sense out of them. This is passable pulp, but anemic fare as far as vampire fiction goes.