I started the move from Sweet with Fall and Fish at blogspot to SwF&F here with a love-letter to Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 so you know I’m biased, but Janet Maslin of the New York Times named it one of her favorite books of 2013 so feel free to take her word for it instead – NOS4A2 seriously kicks ass. This is the modern reinvention of the vampire that Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain so desperately wanted to be.
To honor NOS4A2’s infusion of fresh blood (I did that on purpose and I’M NOT SORRY) into a century-old genre, I offer my Top 10 Vampire books, in order of badassery:
1. Stephen King, Salem’s Lot
Since 1975, this has been the standard for terrifying vampires. Modeled after Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Barlow remains largely unseen throughout the book. Yet still he manages to take out an entire town. And vampire children? Yikes.
2. Steve Niles, 30 Days of Night
The clever predators in 30 Days of Night visit a secluded Alaskan town called Barrow, because it’s so far north that at the right time of year the sun doesn’t rise for a month. Bill Templesmith’s illustrations are guaranteed to give you nightmares.
3. Bram Stoker, Dracula
How can the one that started it all come in third? Because a Victorian novel told in letters isn’t all that frightening. By our standards, anyway. In 1897 folks shit themselves.
4. John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In
A twisted story that manages to find tenderness and love in some very dark places. Oh, and it’s got vampires. Makes a great gift for the bully in your life.
5. David Wellington, 13 Bullets
Wellington’s vampires are powerful, otherworldly beasts who can tear a crowd of people to bloody chunks in mere seconds. Unfortunately, they’re a bit whiny once you get to know them. Still – don’t get on their bad side.
6. Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire
Infectious from the opening line: “I see. . .” said the vampire thoughtfully, and slowly he walked across the room towards the window.” If you’ve read it before, it’s time to remind yourself why this book made Rice a household name. If you haven’t, it’s time to treat yourself.
7. Richard Matheson, I Am Legend
Every title on this list is worth your time but if you only read one, this needs to be it. Allegory never went down so easily; this is required reading masquerading as entertainment.
What happens when the hilarious Christopher Moore writes a vampire trilogy? An upbeat love story. Of course, one of them is eternally damned to walk the earth in thirst of human blood, and the other is filled with exactly that kind of blood, but every relationship has its push and pull.
10. Stephenie Meyer’s, Twilight
If you can’t get behind this series, you hate fun. But badass?