Author: Lee Hunt
Pages: Paperback, 358
Opening Lines: "The black man in worn canvas trousers and blue jacket that made up the rough uniform of a seaman in the Union navy walked down the narrow street, surveying the damage down by the riots."
The past belongs to the night
"1863: During a shipwreck in the frigid waters off the coast of North America, one man dies -- and a demon is rechristened. Enoch Bale, once known as Count Draculiya, reaches America's shores. On the eve of the New York Draft Riots, Echo Van Helsing comes to the city to avenge the mysterious murder of her father by a hideous creature out of ancient myth. Instead she is met by conspiracy, unholy terror, and a terrible truth.
The night belongs to the dead
"The Present: Archaeologist Carrie Norton makes a startling find in a historic Manhattan site: the mummified corpse of a Civil War-era homicide victim. Cold-case detective Max Slattery sees something more: gruesome, uncanny parallels to a recent series of brutal slayings. Their investigation is about to take them places neither expected, because while the man responsible may be long dead, he is not long gone . . ."
~ Jacket copy
Thoughts: This book takes place between two time periods: 1863 before and briefly after the Draft Riots in New York City and modern times. After LinCorp discovers a mummified body of a black Union soldier in preserved in a bog. At the same time, Echo Van Helsing is searching for her father's murdered with the help of Kate Warne.
I really found myself enjoying the book. The characters were extremely engaging, and I liked the story. It didn't set out Dracula as the horror Bram Stoker wrote. Further, it explained why Dracula was not purely a figment of fiction. It also pulled in some miscellaneous stuff from American literature. It makes me wonder how much of this was based in fact.
The other thing that really struck me was the amount of history in the book. Because of the nature of the book and the time period, the author obviously did a lot of research into the Draft Riots, the atmosphere of NYC, the environment, etc. He was able to make me feel as though I was seeing a picture of the NYC of 1863. Further, the sections actually dealing the the Riots was graphic, brutal, and portrayed the horrors that took place in the city.
While it appears that these are two separate stories, they end up meeting in the end. I thought it was a clever plot devise. It really connected to the past and present. However, I felt that Echo, Kate, and Matthew were not given and full and decent ending. Their story was so captivating and moving, so I felt it was a disservice. Further, the ending was far to rushed. The author spent too much time describing the occurrences of the Riots and not enough time wrapping the story up. The ending was found within a few pages at the end. Honestly, it was anti-climatic. It just kind of fizzled.
Another thing that caught my attention was the scene Branum's American Museum. After talking with Booth, it read: "leaving the hotel." Unless the Museum was in a hotel, I am rather annoyed that the editor did not catch this. I flipped back several times to make sure I misread or missed the author telling the reader it was located in a hotel. I understand mistakes made by writers, but there is no reason the mistake should be published.
Even though I really enjoyed the majority of the book, I find myself only giving it two skulls. Under normal circumstances, I would have been able to let that editing issue slide. Since it was the only one I noticed, it is definitely an understandable oversight. However, the ending pushed me over the edge. If the author spent more time developing an ending and not giving us history lessons about the Riots, I think he could have wrapped it up beautifully. As it stands now, I just feel so unfulfilled by the book.
Currently: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Current Pages: 24870