Vlad by Carlos Fuentes reinvents the Bram Stoker classic Dracula in Mexico City, when the count makes the journey from the old country to the new world with a specific goal in mind.
Before he joined the undead, through a ten-year-old girl vampire, he was the fourteen century Romanian ruler, Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula. If you don’t know Vlad his unspeakable crimes are listed here. And they are not what terrifies you in this well-written short novel filled with graphic imagery.
It is the earnest attorney, Yves Navarro, who is tasked with Vlad’s move to Mexico. Dark humor pervades the new tenant’s many odd requests such as blackened windows, escape tunnel, and multiple drains.
Yves’s domestic life appears tranquil, despite the loss of his eleven-year-old son, who disappeared in the ocean on a beach outing. He and his wife, Asunción, and his little girl live the middle class life. But it is the loss of their son that has opened the door for evil to enter the family.
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This tale is more than a horror story; it also reveals the ignorance of ignoring or not noticing problems until it is too late. The reader always knows more than the clueless Yves. The vampire has his eyes on his wife and littler girl.
The book is comical at times with Vlad’s fake toupee and mustache, but this novella is truly scary and horrible. Fuentes is an amazing stylist, and the story will creep you out and fill you with terror. This may not be Fuente’s greatest work. but it has the fingerprints of a master all over it.
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