Review : Blood Fugue by Joseph D’Lacey

Reclusive outdoorsman, Jimmy Kerrigan, finds himself battling a vampiric plague which threatens to destroy Hobson’s Valley, the isolated mountain community he calls home. When his family, friends and neighbours fall prey to the ‘Fugue’, Kerrigan is the only one who can save them and prevent the disease spreading beyond the remote town’s boundaries.

The illness and its effects have, like tetanus, survived in the earth around the mountain for countless generations. The lineage of Fugue Hunters has always been able to reverse an outbreak but not this time; someone wants the disease to spread and, in combination with a mutation of the virus, Kerrigan realises he may not be strong enough to contain it.

Just take a look at where you buy your books from and you will see that Vampire novels are ten a penny, but look closer, look carefully, these aren’t really vampire novels, they are they are book designed to get little girls hearts all a flutter over the handsome homecoming king vampire heartthrob.  Where are all the Vampire books that used to get my heart a fluttering with fear, terror and excitement.   Sadly those days seem long gone, however into every generation a writer  is born: one pen  in all the world, a chosen one. He alone will wield the words that will turn  the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; into the threat there once were.  He is The D’Lacey. 
Blood Fugue, is truly a magnificent book.  From the opening  terrifying and sexually charged prologue, D’Lacey pumps need life blood into a sadly deflated genre.  It is clear from the start that the vampires that inhabit this book are vicious, calculating and cold blood killing machines.  yes they revel in the life giving fluids of us mere humans, but these are no Mills and Boone romantic encounters, In fact I would say these encounters are akin to a great white shark playing with it’s food before it rips it apart.  This alone would make these vampires a welcome addition to the genre, but add in the grotesque transformations that these vampires can make, these vampires become awesome.  There is a brilliant set piece in the first half of the book, set in the aftermath of an drunken hook up, that will put you in mind of the horror film The Thing. 

Now it is all well and good having a great villain, but without a great hero to counter the villain a book will seem rather empty and hollow.  With Jimmy Kerrigan, it is clear that  D’Lacey has put a lot of thought an effort into not only the character itself, but the also his whole back story and how he fits in with the whole ecology of the story.  For about the first third or so of the book, the reader is given little hints as to who and what Kerrigan is, these tantalising titbits add a great sense of mystique to the character, so much so that initially you are not really sure if he is the great hero of the book, or if he is something more dangerous.  I for one loved this depth that was given to the character.  And trust me folks when all is revealed there is no shattering of the mystique that D’Lacey has so carefully built up around this character. Kerrigan will still remain one of the most enigmatic characters written about this year. 
For a  novel  to work it’s not enough just to have a great cast of characters, the story has to be both engaging and in this case of a horror novel at least thrilling if not terrifying.  Blood Fugue manages to pull all of all of these  off with great gusto.  The emotionally charged  and at times heart breaking story is interspersed with some excellent action set pieces.  A special mention must be made of the spectacular, action packed finale.  This battle between Kerrigan, and the source of the Fugue is is stunning and is only matched by the heartbreaking epilogue.

Blood Fugue  is a near perfect mix of vampires, body horror and  ecological thriller.  if you only read one vampire novel this year, make sure it is this one. 


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