Speartip (UK), 2012
Speartip (UK), 2013
Vampire “ Unleashed”
Speartip (UK), forthcoming
By Lee McGeorge
Paul McGovern is a mild, retiring writer, fresh from the university, about to spend six months in Romania working on a series of can’t-miss blockbuster novels.
He is also a vampire.
The qualification stems from the fact that in this trilogy (two novels completed, one more to come) Lee McGeorge fundamentally redefines vampire in some fascinating and frustrating ways.
When McGovern arrives in Romania, he discovers that his new apartment is in a featureless, Communist-era concrete block; the room is as uninviting as the landscape, with no hot water and intermittent electricity and heating. On his first day there, he is accosted in the street by two men, one of whom threatens to castrate him. Shortly thereafter, the same two men severely beat him, this time in the foyer of his own building. With each confrontation, he retreats further and further into himself, his suffering ameliorated only by his acquaintance with a young woman, Ildico.
As much as Ildico becomes a savior-image to McGovern, she also introduces him to a key local belief that ultimately alters him completely: vampires. At first he scoffs at the idea, going so far as to visit a mysterious gravesite deep in the surrounding forests. But as events progress, he is drawn further and further into the realm of myth and legend, even while struggling to rationalize both the idea and its effects on him.
Early in Vampire “Untitled,” his perceptions shift:
A vampire wasn’t some mythical creature that transformed into a bat and flew in the night to drink blood. A vampire was a man capable of inflicting cruelty and violence. Someone who could enact such violence and believe his actions were just. (123)
And yet…. And yet as Vampire “Untitled” nears its conclusion, McGovern sees himself as somehow transformed, not into a bat but into a creature haunted by visions of bloody and gruesome revenge, by the image of an ice-white naked man just on the periphery of his vision, and by the memories of brutal murders he has himself committed.
Vampire “Untitled” brings McGovern to Romania and ends as he plans his escape back to London…to avenge himself on an unsuspecting woman. It introduces the complex ramifications of assigning vampirism as a species of human psychological aberrations triggered by some evil force within the forest. It establishes the changes in McGovern’s core personality, doing so gradually, through frequent dreams and near-fugue states that might or might not reflect reality. The pacing is careful, cadenced, and convincing as events lead to a bloody climax.
In Vampire “Unseen,” McGovern is in London, plotting his revenge for a months-old slight and assaulting or slaughtering anyone who gets in his path. But things are not going to go smoothly for him; unknown to him, a Romanian detective, Corneliu Latis, has been reassigned to follow McGovern, to penetrate his several disguises, and to capture him…or kill him. Latis is now affiliated with a super-secret Romanian hospital/think tank devoted to understanding the pathology of the disease that will—or at least should—degenerate McGovern’s cognitive processes and ultimately kill him. But McGovern is not following the recognizable pattern; he is in fact becoming quicker, stronger, more cunning and capable…and more violent. At the end of the volume, Latis has joined forces with an unexpected and unusual underground figure who can provide him with the funds and the protection to follow McGovern.
The as-yet-unpublished third volume, Vampire “Unleashed” promises to explore the think tank further, to penetrate to the roots of vampirism as it has been redefined, and to bring McGovern’s story to a conclusion one way or the other…and along the way to spill countless gallons of blood in any number of violent confrontations.
In redefining the vampire, McGeorge has established the boundaries—or lack thereof—of what is appropriate and inappropriate for his novels. There is no lack of harsh language; no lack of intensely bloody scenes; no lack of overtly sexual actions and, perhaps worse, imaginings that somehow blend uncomfortably with reality in ways that even the characters do not understand. Certainly not for timid or tepid readers, the Vampire novels establish a creature outside of human norms, one whose entire being is devoted to carnality and violence. And they plays fair with the creature in how they tell his story.