A solid YA horror novel with some elements that at times had me going what is happening a few times. The only thing that gave me pause was our heroine (Darcy) possibly getting involved with a relative in the end [read the book if you want to know about all of that]. I loved Richie Tankersley Cusick books as a teen and I still like them now even though I noted some minor things here and there. The main reason why I gave this 4 stars is that I wanted more development of the killer in this one. Deciding to just become a serial killer because a “gypsy” (they use that word in the book) at a carnival tells you something seems like a stretch.
“Vampire” follows teen Darcy who is being dumped with her Uncle Jake due to her mother’s 4th or 5th wedding/honeymoon overseas. Darcy is used to her mother not caring about her, but she hopes that she can make herself useful at her Uncle Jake’s and his home as well as his business called “The Dungeon” where he has exhibits showcasing movie/book/real life horror villains like Count Dracula, The Wolfman, and Jack the Ripper. As Darcy gets to know her uncle’s three friends [Brandon, Kyle, Elliot, and Kyle’s sister Liz] she feels as if someone is watching her. And when young women start being found dead with two lipstick marks on their throat, a serial killer called the Vampire seems intent on making Darcy his next victim.
I found Darcy to be a bit bland honestly. Usually Cusick’s heroines have more gumption. She was just so passive I thought about everything. And I wondered at her even letting Brandon kiss her since he had a whole other something going on throughout the course of the book. She didn’t have much personality.
I was intrigued by Jake and his affinity for his “family” as he called them. And I found Brandon, Kyle, Elliot, and Liz’s friendship interesting. Cusick lays the groundwork, but there’s not enough time to get into everything with the four of them.
The plot was interesting and if I was a teen reading this, I would say scary. A strange stalker/killer stalking young girls and deciding to make them his bride. Cusick’s books have never been gory, but there’s plenty of blood.
The flow works throughout the book though at times I found myself getting impatient. That was usually when Darcy was calling herself accusing everyone of being the killer.
The setting of the town wasn’t that defined. Most of the action takes place at Jake’s home/exhibit and his club.
The ending though was a bit odd. I wish that we had more time to resolve some things with the killer and one of the other characters more.