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The Battle for Barnstable

Author: Alan M. Brooker
Genre: Horror
Reviewed by Susan DiPlacido

11210402This latest, thrilling offering from Alan Brooker opens innocently enough. Alex Anderson is a small-town reporter looking for his big break. When local stories (along with subscriptions) fall to an all- time low in the sleepy town of Barnstable, his editor dispatches him on a mission to find some news. Alex decides on a series investigating local historical landmarks, and his first place of interest is the ancient Barnstable Manor. While the manor was built by and was home to the Barnstable family for several hundred years, when their family tree dried up – under mysterious circumstances – over ten years ago, the mansion was bought and is now inhabited by Louis Armitage.

During a lukewarm meeting with Armitage, Alex begins studying Barnstable history and is also introduced to Armitage's lovely niece, Lisa. Besides being interested in Lisa's obvious charms, Alex also finds himself drawn in by the strange story of Andrew Barnstable, the last heir to the flamboyant family. It seems Andrew disappeared many years ago while on a trip to Europe. But what seems to be isn't the truth, as Andrew is actually still alive and well, but he's a vampire. Meanwhile, unaware of her father's bloodsucking propensities, his daughter Sara is soon enlisted to help Andrew gain entrance once again into Barnstable Manor. Though it was his previous home, he cannot enter now without being invited, and something inside its walls has drawn his intense interest. Namely, the lovely Lisa.

Once dispatched to the mansion to procure an invitation for him, Sara also finds herself immediately drawn in by the enchanting but cloistered Lisa, and they soon find themselves celebrating Sapphic-style. But all is not well in Barnstable. For Lisa was kept so closely protected and guarded by her uncle because he's a Satanist who plans to offer her as a virgin bride when he summons his master. But now that Sara has taken her virginity, his plans must change and he needs to find a replacement.

When dead bodies start appearing, our feckless reporter Alex finds himself no longer researching a historical human-interest piece, but embroiled in a full-blown murder investigation with many occult ties. And he's going to have to piece the puzzle together and sift through the vampires and Satanists to defeat the true evil. And if he doesn't do it in time, all hell is going to break loose.

Once again, Brooker dabbles in the occult with more than a little flair for the flamboyantly sexual. The Battle for Barnstable effectively ties horror with suspense while bending expectations and taking the reader on a fast-paced, unravelling mystery. Well written with multiple points of view, this is sure to be a wicked delight for fans of these genres, all the way up to the nail-biting finale.

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November 28, 2004 in Horror | Permalink

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