Book Review “The Dracula Dossier” by James Reese

Details from Amazon:

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st Edition edition (Sep 29 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061233544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061233548
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    I enjoyed this novel but I had many concerns with it. First off I think this is an example where an author uses his reputation as a best-seller to get away with something, namely a very slow beginning. Until about page 95 almost nothing happens in the book, it is EXTREMELY boring and I almost gave up reading several times.

    Second, he is obsessed with with historical accuracy and every page is filled with footnotes. Being a Dracula and a Bram Stoker fan I found this interesting at first but it quickly becomes exhausting and it makes reading more of a chore. I’m aware this novel is what he calls “shadow history” and that no doubt Stoker would have filled a journal full of footnotes still for me it gives the novel a textbook type of feel which I didn’t appreciate.

    SPOILER ALERT!

    Third, the ending is very anti-climatic. After this huge build-up to a show down with Jack the Ripper (who is possessed by an Egyptian demon here) Stoker just gets him to kneel down for a ceremony, slits his throat and cuts his heart out. I really thought it should have been harder than that.

    Things I liked:

    The atmosphere is genuinely creepy and his attention to detail is amazing. The characters are well fleshed out and his portrayal of Stoker is fascinating and very accurate to my knowledge. The scene where the demon shows itself and possesses Jack Francis (aka Ripper) is very exciting and done exquisitely well. The description of victims (both animal and human) are gory but done so precisely and so interwoven with the story that I very much enjoyed them. Also the way he weaves details of Dracula into Stokers life is done masterfully well and I appreciate the notes at the end explaining exactly what was real and what wasn’t. Physically the hardcover has an old-fashioned parchment type feel to the paper, which was a nice touch.

    Conclusion:

    I would give this book 7/10. It would have been much higher if it skipped the first 90 pages and had a better ending. If you are a fan of Dracula and the great Bram “The Dracula Dossier” is a must read, just be prepared for a slow start and a story that works a little too hard and long building suspense.

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