When one reads or writes a new vampire story, two questions need asking:
1. Does this story have something fresh to say?
2. Does this story add to the canon in a meaningful or interesting way?
The answers are an unequivocal yes with Tamara Thorne’s novel Candle Bay.
Think Mario Puzo meets Anne Rice. A family of vampires own and operate a half-kitchy, half-swanky resort in the middle of fog-shrouded nowhere. A rival family wants the secret that the Darlings have kept hidden for centuries. Thrown into the mix is a medicine that should give the Darling family an edge. But do they have an ally or a mole? The mobster subtext is both fun and compelling.
My favorite new twist is that when consumed beyond the need for simple sustenance, blood acts like alcohol. Vampires keep bottles of blood like wine, savoring a delicate vintage of AB-negative.
Thorne also creates, in a tight few paragraphs, a history of the vampiric race that rivals what Anne Rice assembled over an entire series of novels. There’s also a great exploration of two types of vampires: trueborn and human vampires that adds excellent subtext in the interplay of characters. And the nature of these vampires in Candle Bay is presented as an elegant balance of savage predators and sexual paramours, weaving together both major traits, which have become a hot topic of debate lately.
Balance is what Thorne does best in this novel. This is a love story. A mob story. A family drama. A wise combination of creepy, thrilling, titillating, and good old vampire fun. Thorne brings to life a huge cast of characters and imbues them with distinct personalities. These are living and breathing (so to speak) people who have good and evil in their hearts just like we all do. She gives us a half dozen different points of view with these characters, but knits them all together so the narrative never loses its tight focus.
Candle Bay is certainly a must-read for any vampire enthusiast, but it succeeds as a chiller that will please any reader of horror and thrillers. It’s a terrific novel beyond any category.
First published in 1991, Tamara Thorne is the author of the international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, and The Sorority. Her novels range from straight-out ghost stories to tales of witchcraft, conspiracies, UFOs, elemental forces, and vampires.
Tamara also conducts real-life investigations of anomalous phenomena and has seen a number of odd things over the last twenty years. As an open-minded skeptic, she's spoken to many paranormal groups and has appeared on the television show, Ghost Adventures. She has also been featured on many radio programs and in various newspapers on the topics of haunted places and local lore. A journalist by training, she occasionally writes about ghosts and hauntings for a syndicate of southern California newspapers, but her first love is, and has always been, telling ghost stories to make people scream. . . and laugh.
Today, she and her frequent collaborator, Alistair Cross, share their worlds and continue to write about ghosts and other mysterious forces. Together, they host Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! and have recently finished their latest novel Darling Girls, a continuation of Tamara’s novel, Candle Bay, and Alistair’s novel, The Crimson Corset. Thorne and Cross also write the bestselling Gothic Horror series, The Ravencrest Saga, together.
You can visit Tamara on Twitter, Facebook, or at her blog.