Romance author Susan Blexrud divides her time between Orlando and Asheville. And she divides her subject matter between Mayans and vampires. Mostly vampires (read a previous review here), these days. According to Blexrud’s bio, “In 2008, Susan was a finalist in Twilighted’s first original fiction contest, and in 2009, she won second place in The Pen & Muse’s romantic short story contest. In 2010, Patricia Altner (Patricia’s Vampire Notes) named Susan one of her four new discoveries.”
Her latest book (“a crimson romance”) is The Gettysburg Vampire. The novella (136 pages) is set both in the mid-1800s, where readers first meet Civil War soldier Malcolm McClellan, a Colonel in the Union army; and in present time where we meet Abby Potter, who works in the theater department at the college in Gettysburg, Va., her alma matter.
Abby is about to stage the play Vampire Train, which needs a believable lead. So Abby turns to history professor and Civil War re-enactor Malcolm McClellan. That his name is the same as the Union Colonel (who, at the book’s start, sets out to stop a ghost train that haunts tracks along Civil War battle territory) is no coincidence.
However, for all the ageless mystery that surrounds McClellan, what Abby picks up on is first) his grouchiness and second) his sexiness. This is a romance, after all. And, while Abby is more of a jeans and turtle neck wearer, there’s bodice ripping. Figuratively if not literally.
Blexrud offers up some some great lines, such as “As she walked away, her heart mimicked a microwaved marshmallow — after an explosive puff, it quickly deflated.”
And some sultry vampire moves: “He didn’t often nick her neck in the heat of passion, but last night when his teeth grazed her throat, he’d punctured her skin with his razor-sharp fang. He immediately sealed the wound with his velvet tongue and later apologized for getting carried away.”
The book is packed with action (the athletic and suspenseful kind, as well as the sweaty and naked kind), with interesting twists (witches trump vampires; some vampires can walk around in daylight) and with re-imagined history (you know how Stonewall Jackson died of complications from pneumonia, after being shot in the arm? Well, Blexrud has something else in mind).
Which is to say, The Gettysburg Vampire is probably not for history buffs. For those who enjoy romance novels, vampire lore and a fun escape into a fast-paced and entertaining read? That’s the audience for Blexrud’s newest novella.