Long before there was Ghost Whisperer or The Sixth Sense‘s Cole Sear, there was Brian Lumley’s Harry Keogh, the original Necroscope.
When we are first introduced to the young Harry, he seems like your typical kid – bright, well-adjusted, and somewhat disinterested in school. But as we get to know him, we learn that Harry is special. For starters, he is brilliant – incredibly so. And it turns out that genius-level intelligence belies an even bigger secret: he is a necroscope, possessed of the ability to speak to the dead. It is not long before Harry’s unique talents come to the attention of E-Branch, the paranormal equivalent to MI5, which seeks to enlist Harry in its Cold War battle against Russia’s own preternatural espionage division led by the ruthless Gregor Borowitz. Harry’s powers are formidable, but his Eastern Bloc counterparts boast some equally impressive (and fearsome) talents of their own.
Unbeknownst to Borowitz, however, his right-hand man, Boris Dragosani, a Romanian with the ability to mine corpses for hidden secrets, has plans of his own. Dragosani is in search of the Wamphyri, the mythic vampire of Slavic lore, determined to make its legendary power his own. And, if successful, he will prove an indomitable foe to not only Borowitz but his future rival Harry Keogh.
Now I’m normally not a huge fan of vampire fiction because I find that much of the works out there is often hardpressed to surmount the inherent cheesiness of the source material. And yet, in Necroscope, Lumley offers up a fresh take on the classic vampire, spinning clever real-world explanations for many of its more fantastic associative myths, yet never undermining the chilling supernatural core of the legend. That said, while Necroscope is often referred to as a vampire novel, it is, in truth, much, much more. It touches on a host of elements, supernatural and scientific, but manages to keep all the balls in play in a narrative that broods and builds in suspense, expertly weaving the seemingly disparate parts into an engaging and memorable tale. Smart in its portrayal of Cold War gamemanship, terrifyingly visceral in its depiction of the supernatural, and surprisingly touching in its exploration of Harry’s relationship with his late mother, this is a book that surprises and satisfies.
Unique and gripping, a classic of the genre.
So, what did everyone else think? And, hey, if you have questions for author Brian Lumley, start posting them.
Let’s see…what else is new.. Oh, right. I seemed to have, uh, misplaced my wedding band. After searching everywhere and beating myself over it, I finally informed my wife. Her reaction? Anger? Disappointment? Overwhelming sadness? Nope. Try: Delight. That’s what you get for being married to someone in the jewelry business. She is absolutely thrilled by the opportunity to design and craft me a personalized band to replace the store-bought original. Go figure.
Hey, remember the other day when I reported on my clever ruse to throw off foraging raccoons by labeling the boxed leftovers I set out on my back porch “Diamond Comic Distributors”? Well, it grieves me to report that the raccoons in my neighborhood are, for the most part, illiterate. And it was while I was cleaning the garlic-sautéed gai lan and styrofoam remnants off the back steps that I came up with the idea to start a charitable fund tol help local raccoons acquire the rudimentary reading skills necessary to function in an increasingly demanding society. The Canadian Association for Raccoon Literacy joins the list of no-less important charities I am proud to be a part of: The After School Program for Itinerant Chimps, The Organization for Dyslexic Dolphins, S.Q.U.I.S.H.Y., that works tirelessly in its efforts to provide squirrels with the accounting expertise they need in order to file their own tax returns, and, of course, G.R.U.B.B.Y. that has been educating underprivileged orangutans in the proper etiquette of the Japanese Tea Ceremony since 1911. Please, give generously.
Well, I’m off to read the very first draft of the very first Stargate: Universe script, compliments of Brad Wright and Robert Cooper…