cover image Blood Lines: Vampire Stories from New England

Blood Lines: Vampire Stories from New England

. Cumberland House Publishing, $12.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-1-888952-50-6

As the editors observe in their introduction, vampirism of one kind or another is a central motif of New England's post-Puritan nightmares. Unfortunately, the 10 stories of this collection--the first volume of Cumberland's American Vampire Series--don't quite do the nightmare justice. Too often attention to voice or setting drains the blood out of a promising tale, while most settle for stock foreshadowing devices--watch out for light-sensitive Hungarians in black. All but one of the stories have been previously published, and only a few deserve the honor. Chief among these are H.P. Lovecraft's eerie 1937 tale ""The Shunned House,"" which bears the master's singular stamp and ties itself off with a neat twist, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch's recent ""The Beautiful and the Damned,"" narrated by the grandson of Gatsby narrator Nick Carraway. Although Rusch is no Fitzgerald, it's fun to watch her literalize the metaphorical vampirism that haunts so much of his fiction. The rest are most likely to please those enthusiasts of the upper mainland states who don't mind when a vampire story fails to keep them up at night. (Oct.)