Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
Publication Date: 15th Oct 2015
A copy of The Vampire of Plainfield by Kristopher Rufty was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Sinister Grin Press, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.
I do enjoy getting ARCS from Sinister Grin Press. You never know quite what you are going to get because they do produce a very wide range of stuff. This one I went at with one eye closed at the beginning. The last couple I have read by Kristopher Rufty haven’t really given me what I expected from them so I was a bit sceptical. Should I have been?
The year is 1954. Ed Gein lives in the small town of Plainfield, Wisconsin. Ed isn’t the nicest of people really. He likes to dig up graves in the middle of the night, when everyone else sleeps.
Timmy and Peter are best of friends. They like to visit Ed at his house because he buys lots of comics and books that they would not be allowed to read at home. Peter’s mom wouldn’t approve and Timmy’s dad is a policeman so he definitely wouldn’t approve. Ed shows them stuff like shrunken heads that he says his brother sent him from abroad. The kids believe him. Ed knows different.
One night, during one of Ed’s grave robbing visits, he unleashes something that he shouldn’t have. Something evil. Something he has no idea how to deal with. Unbeknown to any of them. Ed, Peter and Timmy are about to be caught up in something they never would have suspected. With terrifying results for all of them.
Now before reading this book I had never heard of Ed Gein. Mr Rufty, as way of introduction, has a little piece about him obviously stating that the book is a work of fiction and in no way is intended to glorify Ed Gein or what he had done. I didn’t want to read about Ed at this point in case it swayed my thinking on the story. I’m glad I didn’t. I have just spent an hour or so reading about him and he, the real Ed, was one nasty piece of work. Anyway, to the review.
Characters in this are led by Ed. Putting aside what he was in real life, in this story Ed is what I would probably describe as a harmless weirdo. I know that sounds weird in itself but I have mixed feelings about him. Yes he robs graves and keeps skulls and makes suits from skin and all those sorts of things, but at the same time he is totally harmless to the “living” people around him? He is courteous and respectful when he needs to be and is truly remorseful for what he has done and fully intends to fix things but he is also not the smartest in the world and finds this difficult.
Peter and Timmy are both kids who are victims of the era. They want so much more adventure in their lives than kids of that time were allowed which is why they are drawn to Ed and his books and comics. They both go on to play huge parts in the story later but for very differing reasons. Smaller characters, only in the sense of being in the story for less time, would be cousins, Dorothy and Robin, two innocent young girls whose lives are going to change forever. Bernice is Timmy’s grandmother and apparent keeper of secrets. Mary is the owner of the local tavern and all round good time girl for the local men.
The Vampire is just that, a vampire. He doesn’t strike me as one of the classic vampires like Dracula but he is very effective. He is creepy and takes no prisoners. He knows exactly what he needs and wants and will do whatever it takes to get it.
All of the characters cross paths at one stage or another and they do all gel together very well. They are all very well written and more importantly for me, believable.
The plot is simple. Ed digs up vampire – vampire wants to rule again. Not giving anything away there because you probably already read that bit in the synopsis. The difference is the way the plot is put together. Yes, this book is about a vampire. It’s about much more than that though. It’s about a man trying to make up for his mistake and not really having either the tools or the brains to do it. It’s about kids being caught up in something they would never have believed. It’s about the shattering of innocence in a period of time where it was one of the last things that people had to cling on to. It’s about ancient horrors returning to a small town where only one person knows what is really going on.
It is full of twists and turns that you would never see coming. Just when you think one thing is coming, it changes direction and another thing happens. This is what I loved about the story. You know generally what it is about, but you have no idea how it’s going to get there.
So did I enjoy it more than the previous couple of books by Mr Rufty? I certainly did. The writing in this, for me, was so much better. It flowed more and the pacing for each scene was perfect. It had the perfect amount of blood and gore for the story and lots of cringe moments. It doesn’t, however, get full marks from me. It would have if there were not so many sexual references or descriptions. Yeah it’s my old nemesis again isn’t it? I just don’t think it’s necessary at all or at least in the way some of the scenes were written in this.
Overall though, I enjoyed this one a lot more.
To summarise: a vampire story with a bit of heart (scuse the pun). Perfectly paced for most of the book with likeable, believable characters, plenty of blood and guts and just the right amount of tension. The best thing for me in this one is the way the story came together. Not what you would expect, with plenty of twists. This is one I can recommend.
★★★★ much better. Could have been a 5 star!
★★★★ plenty creepy.
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Plainfield, Wisconsin. 1954. Robbing graves to appease his malevolent desires, Ed Gein inadvertently sets loose an ancient vampire on the unsuspecting town of Plainfield. As the number of missing persons rises, Ed realizes the vampire’s ultimate plan has been put into motion, and to prevent his dastardly practices from being exposed, he decides to slay the vampire himself. But he soon understands that he’s all the hope Plainfield has. As the few people closest to Ed are sucked into the vampire’s realm, he’ll be forced to reach deep inside himself to bring the incredible nightmare to an end.
On this night, the Ghoul of Plainfield must battle the Vampire of Plainfield…to the death!
Kristopher Rufty is the author of Angel Board, The Lurkers, Pillowface, A Dark Autumn, and Oak Hollow. He has also written and directed the independent horror films Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood.
He hosts Diabolical Radio, an internet radio show devoted to horror fiction and film.
But what he's best at is being married to his high school sweetheart and the father of two crazy children who he loves dearly. Together, they reside in North Carolina with their hulk-like dog, Thor, and numerous cats.
And for more about Kristopher, visit his site or find him on social media: