cover image Thirsty


M. T. Anderson. Candlewick Press (MA), $17.99 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0048-8

""In the spring, there are vampires in the wind."" So begins this blackly atmospheric first novel, set in a New England that is under quiet siege by elfin changelings, mongrel swamp creatures and other inhuman beings. Chris, struggling through the awkward changes of adolescence, finds his teenage lusts becoming the thirst of the vampire. He narrates the pull of his own evil nature with rhythmic, morbid accuracy: ""I tear at my arm and slash downward with the teeth, rutting up little tracks of meat while the thick, sour tang of my own gore sweetly fills my mouth and cheeks, puffing them out."" Chet, a so-called celestial being claiming to be from the Forces of Light, contacts Chris-not yet a full vampire-and asks him to interfere with a ceremony that will release Tch'muchgar, the vampire lord, from his bondage in another world. But can Chet be trusted? The overtly supernatural climax and a disappointing plot twist squelch the sparkle of Anderson's prose somewhat, but horror fans will find this vampire novel a bloody cut above the usual fare. Ages 14-17. (Mar.)