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Manitou Blood, by Graham Masterton
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Dorchester Publishing Company
Published: 2005
Review Posted: 10/19/2005
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 9 out of 10

Manitou Blood, by Graham Masterton

Book Review by Benjamin Boulden

Have you read this book?

Graham Masterton ("The Manitou") revisits his horror roots with his latest novel Manitou Blood. For those of you familiar with Masterton's work the title will tell you everything you need to know about the story. If you are new to his tales, Manitou Blood brings back two of Masterton's most beloved characters: Harry Erskine (a fortune-telling skeptic and sometime con-man) is the protagonist; and Misquamacus (a Native American spirit-Manitou-of a shaman wonder-worker determined to push all, except the Native Americans, out of the New World) is the antagonist.

The story begins with Dr. Frank Winter walking to work. On his way Frank notices a young woman mime performing on the street. Her exposed skin is painted silver and she is beautiful in a "waiflike" manner that makes Frank stop and watch. Her performance is amazing. Almost surreal in the way she moves. Frank is awed by the spectacle and confused when a man standing behind him whispers: She's one of the pale ones, that's why [she is so convincing]. Frank doesn't understand the phrase "pale ones," but he will.

After the mime's performance Frank approaches her and places a dollar in her silver collection bowl. He congratulates her on a wonderful performance, but before he can leave she begins to vomit blood. The blood is not hers, but rather it belongs to two different people. She has actually drunk their blood. This is the beginning of what looks like a deadly blood disease. Those who contract it suffer from burning skin and a wet hunger for blood that cannot be quenched. The hunger is so terrible they end-up cutting the throat of some unlucky citizen and literally drink them dry. It doesn't take long for New York City to be inundated with the ill and their victims. The disease spreads so quickly that in just a few days the city is a literal ghost town by day and a howling bin of bloodsuckers by night.

The "vampire" plague is nothing the doctors or authorities can solve. The only man who can stop the destruction is a tarot card dealing, palm-reading fortune-teller named Harry Erskine. Unfortunately he can't convince anyone the plague is supernatural. The doctors are searching for a blood disorder, and the authorities quarantine New York City. Harry Erskine is alone, with a little help from unexpected friends, to save the world, again.

Manitou Blood is a mixture of vampire novel, ghost story, end of the world plague tale, and demonic possession all rolled into one unique and exhilarating story. It has all of the elements of a good horror novel: there is an abundant amount of fear, enough suspense to keep the reader turning the pages, a little sex, some humor, a touch of gore and a whole lot of fun. Masterton takes the familiar-the vampire-and adds some interesting and original elements to the mythos, and then he places some harrowing, very frightening Native American legends to the story. The ending is a surprise, and the journey is a romp. Manitou Blood is a banner example of Masterton's better work: It is quick, well plotted, and definitely not disappointing. This is one you should read.
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