Terry M. West ‘Night Things: Dracula versus Frankenstein’ Review
Written by Josh Hancock
Though all horror fans will have a blast with Terry M. West’s latest novel, Night Things: Dracula versus Frankenstein, those who are familiar with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein will derive even more pleasure from this humorous, gruesome, and well-written exploration of an ancient rivalry between two of the most iconic literary monsters of all time.
While West’s Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster (known in the novel as underworld crime boss Johnny Stücke) have traces of their 19th-century origins in the novel’s backstory, the modern spin that West places onto these famous characters does take some getting used to. However, once the bitter battle between the two foes begins to heat up, the novel becomes a fast-moving and blood-drenched thrill ride through the monster-infested avenues of New York. Though Dracula and Stücke take center stage as a war unfolds between the Night Things (zombies, ghouls, werewolves and other creatures that rule the city streets), the novel features a strong cast of supporting players who contribute meaningfully to the plot. Horror-porn director and drug addict Gary Hack, his unfortunate daughter Holly, and a few other legendary icons play pivotal roles in an alternate universe that is both fantastical and believable. West combines horror, crime, comedy, history, and gore all into one seamless package, resulting in a story that never has a dull moment.
While I enjoyed the action-packed sequences of West’s novel—especially the climactic battle involving the principal characters and raging monsters of every type—the flashback scenes between Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster proved the most effective. Here, West channels both Stoker and Shelley in terms of language and literary style, while at the same time adding his own creative and razor-sharp edge. One sequence involving Primul (Frankenstein’s monster), a woodsman’s ax, and Dracula’s bastard children was diabolical in execution, the author’s direct and spare syntax packing a punch with every sentence. I received an uncorrected proof to read and review, so the few mechanical and word-choice errors will most likely be corrected by the time the book hits the shelves. Otherwise, this is an entertaining novel that culminates in an epilogue that promises more horror action to come.
Dark, violent, quirky and inventive, Terry M. West’s Night Things: Dracula versus Frankenstein features all the horror icons you love, casting them in a new light and adding dimension to their personalities and histories. Highly recommended.
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For me, it was the subplot involving Gary’s daughter that brought it all together – a young girl forced to grow up far too fast, a man who can never live up to the title of father, and a transvestite vampire who can never be her mother. Give that there was no way he could top the zombie gangbang of the first book, I think adding those human touches really made this work.
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A really excellent review, Josh. I’m halfway through the novel right now and thoroughly enjoying it. Terry certainly has a mastery of words, character development, and story line. I’m feeling that Gary Hack and his daughter, Holly, may be the key to everything. Have to wait and see how Terry plays everything out.
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