Spectral Press, out now
Peter Cushing is asked for help by a young lad who believes his stepfather is a vampire…
Issued to mark the centenary of Peter Cushing’s birth, Volk’s novella is a wonderful homage both to Cushing and to the films – particularly the Hammer horrors – in which he starred. Suffice it to say that the stepfather of course isn’t a vampire, but something considerably more horrific.
The beauty of this book is in its evocation of Cushing himself: the details of his routine, the insights into his life and the way which he viewed the prospect of time without his beloved Helen, and the determination of what can only describe as a proper gentleman are all vividly portrayed. It’s not a “genre” story as such, but told with a love and affection for the genre.
Very occasionally, Volk shows his meticulous research a little more than we need (some detail helps the reader to envisage the scene; too much can have the opposite effect), and you can play ‘spot the Cushing movie’ if you choose, but these are minor quibbles. We all should hope to be revered in such a way when we’re gone.
Verdict: A moving portrayal of grief and a tribute to a true gentleman. 8/10