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Monday, December 10, 2012

Rosedale the Vampyre by Lev Raphael (REVIEW)

With the exception of a 'shock' ending that was a little too abrupt for my tastes, Rosedale the Vampyre is an entirely satisfying piece of period horror. Lev Raphael has done an admirable job of establishing both setting and atmosphere, providing the reader with a novella that honest feels as if it could be a rediscovered turn-of-the-century work of fiction.

Rosedale is a fascinating character, an empty, sorrowful man who has never quite fit in.Ostracized by family, shunned by society, and bereft of the only woman to have ever loved him, he's a rich Jewish man who seems to have it all . . . but who is a veritable pauper when it comes to happiness. Adding to the sense of tragedy is the fact that he appears to be a genuinely nice guy, polite and solicitous even to the prostitute he frequently employs in a desperate cry for release.

While the discovery of puncture wounds upon his neck and a mysterious stranger in his parlour are initially cause for fear, he quickly acclimatizes to the idea of being a vampire. Raphael plays the situation very carefully, making the transition more about societal power and respect than about supernatural abilities. Freed from the prejudices of those around him, Rosedale not only accepts his fate, he seizes upon it and makes it his own.

What make the story especially interesting for me was the way in which Raphael interweaves spirituality with the vampire legend, drawing upon history to portray the Hebrew race in a very different light. It's a religious element that would normally distance me from the story, but its hands so deftly, with such subtle suggestion, it really does cause one to wonder about just where and why our biblical prejudices began.

A short, atmospheric, gothic tale, this is a novella that's best consumed in a single sitting. Quite a pleasant surprise, and a very nice addition to the vampire genre.

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Lev Raphael is the author of twenty-four books in genres from memoir to mystery to Jane Austen mashup. He’s been in love with storytelling since second grade and a reader of catholic tastes since he discovered his first public library. Lev has published traditionally with large and small houses, and recently gone indie because it’s the wave of the future. His latest fiction, Rosedale the Vampyre, grows out of his love of The Gilded Age. Lev has been a newspaper columnist, a radio talk show host, a DJ and even an academic. He writes and reviews full-time and is currently working on three different book projects.

You can visit his website at http://www.levraphael.com.

Hop over to his blog and say hi at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lev-raphael/.

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