The spine of this book was what made me pick it up. A vivid yellow against a selection of grey, black and white is naturally going to stand out. Then the cover showing a stenciled devil like creature made me even more intrigued. John Marks isn't an author I'd come across before and after an extended look I've struggled to find any other novels that he's written. Hopefully this isn't his first and last book that he will have published.
Evangeline Harker, an associate producer, is sent to Transylvania to look at a subject for a possible story. A notorious crime boss would cause a lot of interest and most certainly bring in a high amount of viewers to TV show The Hour. After meeting Ion Torgu however, it is clear that they have misjudged just how dangerous he really is.
Alone in an unknown country Evangeline needs to have her wits about her to get away from his grasp, although that may never be possible. Missing for months, her memory scrubbed, she is returned back to New York very much different in personality from when she departed it. Even though those who were close to Evangeline know that she is a changed person they have more serious things to worry about. Something strange is happening in their place of work yet the reality of what she could do to stop the havoc from continuing appears to be too much.
If she can't find the strength to fight whatever it is that is causing her colleagues to mysteriously die the whole of New York will suffer. This criminal leader is far more sinister than they could even of imagined. Why does he carry a metal bucket about with him? Who has been contacting her boss using her name when she's in a Monastery in Romania? And what do those stars and symbols imprinted in her skin mean?
I am slightly puzzled why Evangeline bosses made her go alone to meet Torgu. They know he is highly involved in criminal activities but they send her with no back up to a place she's never been before. A strong woman with no doubts in her life, she has a loving relationship with her fiance. Characteristics which may very well make Evangeline think she doesn't need someone to hold her hand even if it was offered. But it wasn't even suggested.
Ion Torgu is a suspicous man, you wouldn't expect any less from a criminal mastermind but you know there is more to him than meets the eye. John Marks hasn't even hidden these qualities. It's almost as though he wants you to know that you are never to like or trust his character.
The story is an interesting one. From the title and the fact that Transylvania is one of the locations made me think of vampires. All that and more! It's got far more to it than all that sex and blood drinking nonsense. Two thirds of this book is gripping stuff, at times I didn't want to stop reading it. Split into 15 'Books' each section has different styles of writing so you get different viewpoints. Sometimes just in Evangelines narrative to journal entries and email correspondence with unknow people. I liked this because it enables you to see what events are happening whilst the producer is being held captive
Unfortunately I found a problem which is occurring quite frequently with the books I've been reading of late. The last third made no sense whatsoever. If I were asked I couldn't tell you how it finished because the momentum tailed off as we approached it. Arriving at a point which could of explained a lot of events it was as if Marks went off to make himself a drink and then when he came back couldn't think what to write next. Adding a story which has no connection with the rest of the book. Confusing me into almost giving up.
Despite this I can overlook it as the initial story is a captivating one. As you get to know Evangelines character you almost start to get involved with her actions. What is happening in her mind controls everything and the evil that infected her makes Torgu seem even more despicable.
An enjoyable read which I will no doubt take another look at. Just in case I missed something which would make more sense come the ending. A book which brings vampires and un-natural creatures a modern gothic twist.
You can buy this on Amazon for £5.99