by Bentley Little
“We’re here to talk about vampires,” the mayor said. He scanned the room, waiting and prepared for a reaction, but there was none. No one smiled, no one laughed, no one spoke.
A somewhat unique take on the vampire, The Summoning takes place in the small Arizona town of Rio Verde where a fanatical preacher speaks to Jesus and begins constructing a black church as the headquarters for the Second Coming of Christ. The bloodthirsty Jesus instructs Pastor Wheeler how the church is to be constructed and gives him 40 days to complete it by any means necessary. Wheeler, already a kind of televangelist con artist, has his persuasive powers magnified as he recruits townsfolk to help with the construction and to make the appropriate bloody sacrifices to please the Lord. You’ll find Christianity a major theme throughout the work, where Mr. Little plays heavily with biblical references creating lines such as, “Jesus fed.” and “Jesus loves blood this I know. For the Bible tells me so.”
Meanwhile Sue, a young woman trying to get into college, becomes wrapped up in events and the town newspaper reporting on them as her grandmother reveals both she and Sue share the power of Li Lo Ling Gum, a kind of E.S.P. that helps them see the truth of things. Sue begins working for Rich, the head of the small newspaper, while Rich and his brother Robert, the head of the local police force, are community pillars thrust forward as the town begins tearing itself apart due to the influences of the pastor and Jesus. Sue’s grandmother is able to give tips on an ancient Chinese monster she thinks may be the cause of the town’s troubles, but who believes in monsters?
You’ve not read a vampire tale quite like this one, and will find the pacing solid and the story interesting. It’s not a short book at 544 pages for the paperback but reads quickly anyway. There are also a few moments of the more disgusting horror that can crop up in the genre, effectively used here.
It’s a good book, enjoyable from cover to cover.
”Would you call him and tell him that the next time he volunteers his time and reneges on his promise, I will personally rip his balls out by the roots and feed them to Jesus?”