Vampires Anonymous

Cover of Vampires AnonymousThe GLBTRT has been reviewing books and movies in its newsletter since the early 1990s. Trace the evolution of queer publishing through these historic reviews. This review was originally published in Vol. 3, No 3, Fall 1991. 

Vampires Anonymous. By Jeffrey N. McMahan. Alyson, 1991. Paper. $8.95. (ISBN 1-55583-183-4)

Andrew Lyall, who made his first appearance in the short story collection Somewhere in the Night, is gay, attractive, witty, incredibly sexy – and dead. Andrew introduces us to the subculture of homosexual vampirism. It’s not bad enough that a stake-wielding crazy named Steven Verruckt is constantly tracking Andrew with murder on his mind, but now a group of high-minded vampires (including Andrew’s lover Pablo) have rejected their natures to form Vampires Anonymous! What’s a vampire to do?

McMahan creates a marvelous mood in this world inhabited by men of the night – part suspended horror, part forbidden eroticism – and his story, which grows darker with a murder and evidence of a much larger plot afoot, is nicely constructed. If McMahan’s writing seems a little self-indulgent (particularly in Andrew’s irritating habit of speaking of himself in the third person), be patient. What first appears as flippancy demonstrates itself to be a finely honed wit by the end of the novel.

In a story that is in fits and turns a murder mystery, horror story, comic novel, and social commentary, McMahan gleefully skewers pretense and social norms with a far greater accuracy than his vampire killer Verruckt. Recommended for larger fantasy/horror  collections.

Reviewed by Jim McPeak
Lepper Public Library
Lisbon, Ohio


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