Abraham Van Helsing has been commissioned to return the ashes of one Quincey Morris to his next of kin in Sorefoot Texas. In midst of his journey he stumbles across a bizarre sequence of events. Cadavers are turning up in frequency and intensity. He encounters an unusual ranch comprised of statuesque Norwegian ranchers that may hold the very key to the answers surrounding of brutally slain bodies.
Journalstone strikes again with this highly imaginative, literary novel. Placing third in their annual novel submission contest, author Edward Erdelac presents this ‘found footage’ style of diary and journal entries from numerous citizens of Sorefoot, Van Helsing and Callisto Tervolas and translated by Van Helsing’s life-long friend and advocate John Seward. Written from multiple points of view, the old English style prose makes this collection poetic in nature and intriguing typically of what we would expect from the 1890’s. The diaries and personal papers are allegedly translated by John Seward and suspend the belief factor unto the reading audience creating a sensation that perhaps the events contained within could be reality.
The pace at times is a little slow for my taste. Being an avid fan of commercial fiction, I find the prose a little difficult to digest, similar to high school English classes of Shakespeare. It takes about a hundred pages to get into any serious kind of gripping action. My primary concern in a society that is consumed with short attention spans is the novel may be discarded, rejected or abandoned without giving it the full chance that it deserves. The tale is well worth the wait as a lot of tension and conflict are manifesting ever so gradually. A great deal of exposition, observation and conjecture is offered from various entrants. Each passage holds as much relevance as the next yet it simply takes a route that is a little foreign to me.
I found there was an over indulgent number of characters. Occasionally I found myself grappling with keeping track of who was who. When embarking upon each new chapter it is essential to reach its completion. Caution must be utilized when setting the reading aside to begin again. I think many will agree when commencing once again mid chapter one has to leaf back to the beginning to confirm exactly who had presented that particular entry.
The Van Helsing character is engaging, a tried and true commodity readers will likely be familiar with from the Dracula tale by Bram Stoker. It’s an interesting change of pace to see him engulfed in battle with lycans this time around.
Elements concerning the era, setting and time frame are depicted accurately. Everything from travel to attire, etiquette, vocation, customs, etc. is indicative of 1890’s society. Again I’m concerned from a broad, mass audience perspective that this tale may not wash for many younger readers. One has to suspect that you have to have a taste for history in order to fully appreciate its impact. The conclusion was also a little disappointing, ambiguous and left a little too much unanswered. I believe we would’ve invested more into a dramatic ending making this novel more memorable. Fans of vampires, werewolves or even the old west may find what they’re looking for, but definitely not for everyone.
Book Review: Terovolas – Author Edward M. Erdelac