By Tony Richards; Samhain Publishing, 2014; 350 pgs.
Tony Richards, a UK born writer, whose work hit nearly thirty years ago in the horror boom of the 1980’s by mass market publishers like Tor, Headline and Pan MacMillan, may have slipped off the radar for some unless you were able to follow his illustrious career in the small press.
Thanks to Samhain Publishing, Richards work is now available again in mass market with the release of his latest novel, Hot Blood.
Hot Blood is an epic dark fantasy vampire novel that tells the tale of two immortals from two very different walks of life. Tanya Merrit, the last of her breed of vampire, the Ykrall, quietly resides under the radar in the dark and grimey Manhattan. Her life is turned upside down when her lover is kidnapped and chosen by visiting ancient vampire, Janos Wolkran, to be the next victim in his traveling brood of servants.
Tanya’s pursuit of her lover and Janos’ vampire slaves leads her across the globe with a first stop in Central America where vampires are slayed among a landscape of violent and bloody political warfare. Despite her best efforts, Janos is able to slip by Tanya and make it to his home of Castle Wolkran in Hungary where a war between the two ancient vampires ensues.
Tony Richards uses his vast geographical knowledge in this novel as the pages exude the genuine realness of the Hungarian countryside and the jungles of Central America. The vampires themselves and the the “vampire formula” that Richards chooses to follow are that of his own. You won’t see today’s modern vampire straight out of a Stephanie Meyers or Charlaine Harris novel here…these are more of the Nancy Collins’ Sonja Blue vampires, less glitter more dark fantasy. Hot Blood uses hints of traditional vampire folklore, but ultimately it’s a dark and gritty horrifying and epic love story.