Twilight Phantasies

Twilight Phantasies
Review by The Mad Bibliographer, submitted on 07-Apr-1994

Adapted from "Vampires in Print" in The Vampire's Crypt #9 (Spring 1994).

Review by Cathy Krusberg

Maggie Shayne. Twilight Phantasies (Silhouette Shadows #18) Silhouette, 1993; $3.50.

Romance publishers are getting braver. When Lori Herter's first vampire romance, Obsession, appeared in 1991, I was very, *very* impressed by Berkley's courage in publishing a real romance with a real vampire instead of a cop-out. Well, Berkley has published three more of Lori Herter's vampire romances (the latest, Eternity, numbers among my unread, alas). Now a series romance publisher has jumped on the fangwagon with Maggie Shayne's Twilight Phantasies.

Tamara's parents died when she was very young; she had no other close relatives, and Daniel St. Claire adopted her. At age 26 she still lives with him; in fact, she works at the same place he does, the DPI, Division of Paranormal Investigations -- a branch of the CIA, although her security clearance is so low she sometimes wonders if the level was invented just for her. Daniel and his close associate Curtis Rogers are working intensely on surveillance of a long-standing DPI project: Eric Marquand, believed to be a vampire.

Eric Marquand finds the DPI van that regularly parks across from his house a mere annoyance; he doesn't *have* to go out the front door, after all. A matter of far more concern is the impossible call he hears, again and again, in his mind. A *human* is calling to him. No human can call a vampire. But the call persists, and at last he must follow it to its source -- Tamara Dey. Tired of being confined to the house for her own good, Tamara has gone ice skating alone. Eric does not plan to reveal himself, but when a furious Curtis tracks her down and shakes her within inches of a hospital visit, Eric intervenes. Tamara is puzzled -- does she remember him from somewhere?

Eric remembers her well enough. She is one of the Chosen, one of those who has potential to become a vampire. The Chosen often have vampire guardians -- guardians who never seek to transform or contact, but only to protect. When six-year-old Tamara nearly lost her life because no compatible blood could be found for her, Eric let her drink his own. It worked a miracle; not only did she live, but she knew his name without being told. And then the years passed ....

Now, without her awareness, her mind calls to him. Even if she is part of a DPI plot to entrap him, a possibility he considers repeatedly (she works there, after all), he cannot resist.

Tamara has similar doubts to overcome. Is he *really* a vampire? She realizes soon enough that he is, but he is always gentle with her. A sleigh ride; a rescue from rape and robbery; passionate lovemaking. For a time she lives a double life, lying to Curtis and Daniel about where she spends her time, but eventually the truth catches up to her, and Curtis heads for Eric's house -- with axe in hand.

It gets worse, or, if you prefer, better, with elements of espionage as well as romance: A little kidnapping and torture (done tastefully) and a refreshingly small amount of those tiresome tragic hero cliches: "You cannot think I'm considering passing my curse on to her." It all fits together with admirable pacing, revelations occurring just fast enough, foreshadowing just sufficient. It's not great literature (especially if, like me, you find sex scenes, well, *boring*), but it's really a good read. For me, a surprisingly good read. Heretofore I've looked down my nose at series romances like Silhouette. Evidently I need to revise my views, at least where vampires appear. Shayne is slated to publish another "Wings in the Night" book with Silhouette, and I plan to be on the lookout for it.

Fanged Films

Hungary, 1998
Subspecies: The Awakening / Bloodstorm: Subspecies IV
USA, 2009

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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