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Corpses So Lively / William A. Veselik

thCorpsesSoLivelyCover.jpgMundania Press / October 2007
Reviewed by: Derek Clendening

Professor Alfred Rhys Smythe, the protagonist of William A. Veselik’s Corpses So Lively, returns to London after several years spent abroad. Upon his return home, he notes some changes to the neighborhood: namely, the theater district is now crawling with the walking undead! The mysterious death of a boarding house neighbor triggers this suspicion, and he soon realizes that bloodthirsty vampires are stalking London. As Smythe finds a telling infection in one of his student’s blood and the death toll continues to mount, the impact of the crimes strikes closer to home and he finds himself engaged in battle against vampires with a Scotland Yard sidekick. Corpses is the first book in Veselik's My Soul to Take trilogy. The Mundania Press trade paperback cleverly weaves vampire lore with a Sherlock Holmes-style mystery plot.

Veselik skillfully re-creates an authentic Victorian atmosphere by blending historical and cultural details that transport the reader back to a different time and place. His approach to the vampire as a creature is inventive as well, using hard science to explain the spread of vampirism in the city.

The most noteworthy aspect of the novel – one that will be received by readers as either a tickle of ingenuity or a smack of cliché - is its direct parallel to Dracula. It references Stoker's text - as many vampire novels do - only Veselik's direct comparisons are intentional. The time period is 1897, the year Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published, and Veselik uses Smythe’s familiarity with the creatures described in Stoker’s new literary work as a plot device. And while the opening chapter’s revelation that Smythe is a biology professor who is familiar with vampires certainly helps with the hard science aspect, it screams Van Helsing perhaps a bit too loudly at times. Occasionally, Veselik overshoots a bit, either not trusting the reader to understand facts that he has already established or weighing down the narrative in unnecessary detail.

Corpses So Lively ends with an excellent cliffhanger as any serialized novel should, and Veselik offers enough enticement to pick up the next installment, Enter Death, Stage Right. Though parts of this first volume rehash classic vampire works, it still offers some new insight into vampire lore, and a satisfying new twist for vampire fiction.

Purchase William A. Veselik’s Corpses Most Lively.

Posted on Friday, March 21, 2008 at 11:28AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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