book review, horror, Priscilla Bettis

Book Review: Vampire of the Midnight Sun by Priscilla Bettis

This new release from Bettis comprises two short stories.

The titular Vampire of the Midnight Sun, concerns best friends, Billy and Frasier, whose plans turn deadly when they have to fight the Alaskan wilderness to survive. 

The hostile, beautiful environment of Alaska is a third character in this excellent story. The author excels at description and creating atmosphere. I felt I was in Alaska with Billy and Frasier, experiencing the cold, the dangerous splendor and the often noxious smells. 

The dialogue between the two friends is realistic and establishes the characters well. You get a great feel for the personalities of the two men, and the long history they share.

I enjoyed the play on vampirism, and I’m impressed that Bettis has written two very different, highly original vampire stories that breathe life into a well known monster (click here to read my review of her other vampire story, The Sun Sets Nonetheless).

I’ve looked forward to reading the author’s take on Alaska since I learned she grew up there, and this story didn’t disappoint. With her beautiful, lyrical prose and strong powers of description, she transported me to her home state. Despite the presence of vampires, I found the horror of this story rested solidly in reality. Nature, red in tooth and claw, poses a mesmerizing and formidable enemy. A scene concerning infected feet was one of the most effective and disturbing pieces of writing I’ve read in a while.

The second story, The Fire Witch and the Cowboy, is set in Texas and has a weird Western feel.

When Henderson and some of the other inhabitants of Dusty Bend seek out old Widow Vandermeer to borrow her steam engine in order to fight the wildfire threatening their home, little do they know the dangers that await them. 

I loved the description of the Vandermeer train. There’s something about trains that really captures the imagination, and the author uses the old steam engine in this story to great effect. 

A wild fire in the author’s hometown inspired this story, and it perfectly captures the fear of a wall of fire marching inexorably towards your homestead. Fire takes different forms in this story, and I loved how the author so expertly describes the almost living movement of flames, the fear of their touch, and the horror of belching smoke.

While I found the plot a little predictable, The Fire Witch and the Cowboy is a solid, enjoyable tale.

A highly entertaining duo of stories from a great author, I award Vampire of the Midnight Sun

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Vampire of the Midnight Sun by Priscilla Bettis”

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