Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, January 08, 2007

Fangland gives you a passport to enter nightmare country

In John Marks' new novel,Fangland,the classic story of Dracula gets a transfusion of modern day terror as news show producer Evangeline Harker travels to Romania to snag an interview for The Hour(a 60 Minutes kind of show)with elusive crime lord Ion Torgu. Torgu is rumored to be have his hands into many dirty dealings and planning to open up a Dracula theme park in Transylvania.

On her way to find Torgu,Evangeline meets up with Clemmie Spence,a missionary who hints at seeing evil wipe out whole villages during her travels and insists on pressing a cross necklace on Evangeline before she encounters Torgu. Ion Torgu first comes off as a harmless looking old man with bad teeth but soon after he isolates Evangeline in a sinister remote hotel,his true and deadly intentions towards her are slowly but horrifyingly revealed.

Yes,there are vampires here but not your traditional ones. While they do drink blood(no fangs but the recurrent prescence of a knife in a bucket chills your bones),what they actually crave are the ghosts of atrocities past. Torgu chants a dark litany of historical places where many lives were lost and his song of death hypnotizes his victims into following him.

This bizarre tune causes electronic distortions that are transmitted into the audio system at The Hour's headquarters in New York after the arrival of mysterious tapes weeks after the disappearance of Evangeline along with the delivery of several large crates that no one is sure what to do with except for Stimson Beevers,who has been getting strange and secretive e-mails from Evangeline or so he thinks.

The novel is formatted similarly in style to Dracula(being told thru journals,e-mails and diaries)but has it's own original take on the story that explores some of the current fears we have in today's world with a distinctly dark flair. Some of the most nerve racking moments take place in Romania,in scenes that rival any of the terrors seen in such movies as Hostel,not in gory content but the fear of being helpless in a place far from home.

Fangland also taps into the dog-eat-dog world of television newsmagazine,a realm he's familar with as a former 60 Minutes producer. While you may be tempted to try to figure out which real life newscaster Marks is referring to(and horror buffs will play Connect The Dots to Dracula's characters),it's best to just hold on and let the book take you on it's wild and imaginative ride into a frightfest of the mind. Fangland is due on the shelves by January 11(please click the title link for more info)and this is one ticket to terror that you'll want to have punched.

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