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Success Stories

by T Anthony Truax 

ISBN 1 4137 4065 0
PublishAmerica, 2004
178pp, paperback
Retail price $16.95

This is a Vampire novel. Now the first thing that comes to mind when you find a new Vampire novel is the thought: "Does the world need any more Vampire novels?" and I’m not sure that the answer to that question is "Yes". But then you find that this isn’t a simple Vampire novel. It’s a Vampire Werewolf American Football novel and that’s where the interest lies.

The first chapter and a lot of the second are purely American Football, College Football to be exact. The author describes the game very well, which is fortunate as three of his main characters are players of the game. He also sorts something out for me: American students on a Football scholarship do still have to pass other subjects to get their degree. Not a fact of earth-shattering importance, just one that intrigued me.

It’s not until the third chapter that death and destruction first start stalking this book. They do it with the off-stage killing of the sister of the main character, Mark, and the arrival of a mysterious and beautiful stranger called Myranda. I don’t believe I’m giving too much away by telling you that Myranda is a Vampire. In fact, she’s the chief vampire of many who feature in the book. She’s the chief villain who Mark and his friends have to fight. This is after they become Werewolves and form a team to seek out and destroy Vampires. And it’s at this point that I realised what this book was, or rather what it should be: a comic.

A team of Vampires, three College Football players and an ex-Marine, all become Vampires, each with different characteristics; one is very fast, another very strong, etc. and decide to go chasing Vampires. The particular characteristics of these Vampires and their aims are clearly set out by Mr Truax. Now, what does that suggest to you? Well, if you hadn’t read a lot of comics, or Graphic Novels as they now tend to be called, not much probably. But to me, who has, this is screaming out for an illustrated treatment.

I don’t think this is a novel in the true sense. I think it is a treatment for an ongoing series of comics and, as such, and with a good artist on board, I think it could really work. As a purely written work I don’t feel it took off. The plot and characters weren’t convincing. Some of their actions seemed, at the very least, unlikely and because of this the whole thing felt somewhat flat. However, put that in an illustrated monthly serial format, i.e. a comic, and what might seem failings on the written page, would become plus points.

Open Book

Review by Chris Williams