Kia’s Creepy Literary Corner: ‘The Last American Vampire’ by Seth Grahame-Smith

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Rating – 5/5

So if you haven’t heard of Seth Grahame-Smith, do yourself a favor and check out some of his work.  He wrote the screenplay for the Tim Burton-directed film Dark Shadows, and he’s authored several great mash-up books that you’ve probably heard of – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Unholy Night, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  I haven’t read the latter book yet, but it’s on my list, but I highly recommended his other two books.  Unholy Night is his take on the three wise men.  Since little is known about them, he was able to just run with it and use his imagination to come up with a great story.  With Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, he had to blend both his imagination and actual history to come up with a new take on Lincoln’s story, and the results made for some great reading (and a very entertaining movie).  Grahame-Smith does that again in his newest novel, The Last American Vampire, which is a sequel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  But don’t worry – Grahame-Smith does a good job at giving a general rundown of what the first book is about, so you can jump into the sequel even if you haven’t read the original story.  The sequel follows one of the main characters from the first book, vampire Henry Sturges, on a quest to find a new threat to the Union, which is essentially a group of vampires who have sworn to protect humans and to make sure that vampires and humans coexist peacefully.  Along the way, Henry gets involved in all sorts of adventures and meets various historical figures, and it’s these adventures and meetings that really make this a novel worth checking out.

Grahame-Smith does a masterful job at weaving fictional storytelling with historical facts that at times it’s difficult to sort fact from fiction.  This often led me on my own fact-finding missions to learn more about the events and the people involved in his story.  As for the historical figures, Grahame-Smith manages to weave Henry Irving, Bram Stoker, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Rasputin, and various American presidents into Henry’s adventures, just to name a few.  Grahame-Smith even reworks history in the telling of Henry’s own past, including an interesting take on the missing Roanoke colony.  This book is also full of footnotes in which Grahame-Smith provides even more details that are either factual, fictional, or his trademark blending of both.  On top of that, Grahame-Smith is great at writing fighting and action scenes – his book Unholy Night is a great example of this as you can really imagine the scenes you’re reading about being played out on the big screen.  The Last American Vampire is full of such scenes, and I often found myself cringing (pleasantly) at some of the descriptions.

In my opinion, this sequel surpasses the original and really establishes Grahame-Smith as a force in his genre.  If you’re into history, historical fiction, action, and some blood and gore, The Last American Vampire is the perfect book for you.

Kia is a cohost of the Half Assed Horror Cast. Her favorite horror novel is Scott Smith’s ‘The Ruins,’ fave slasher is Freddy Krueger, and her favorite TV show of all time is ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ 

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