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DarkEcho Horror
deccoclock by Rick Berry
Book Review

Love in Vein II: Eighteen More Tales of Vampiric Erotica
Edited by Poppy Z. Brite
HarperCollins
400 pp./$12.00/ISBN: 0-06-105333-3

The anthology Love in Vein gave Poppy Z. Brite a chance to offer some vampire fiction to the public without having to dabble in it herself -- something she's stated she's no longer interested in doing. Now this sequel offers 18 more dark fang-tasies. It proves that no matter how many interpretations there have been of this powerful archetype, that the vampire is truly immortal.

Individual taste will most likely decree what one finds outstanding in this anthology. My personal favorites reflect some of the book's eclectic mix: Neil Gaiman's "Snow, Glass, Apples," was previously published as a chapbook and consequently in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, but this feral fairy tale deserves reprinting many times over and would, most likely, make anyone's "notable" list. Lucy Taylor's fiction continues to mature and with "Ceiling and Sky" she deals adroitly with submission and love. David J. Schow offers the strongest story of his recent oeuvre with "Dusting the Flowers" by combining toxic waste, a droll look at "art," and cynical wit. Thomas S. Roche's "The Privilege of the Dead" is a lush look at the disturbing world of the terminally hip.

Touted as "erotic," the sensual feel of the overall volume is minimal. It's certainly not radical in tone, but one is left to wonder if the four stories Brite selected that the publisher censored would have somewhat changed this.

Quibbles: No information is offered about the writers and there is no introduction. I miss both of those little touches. Unlike the first book, which was offered first in hardback, then trade paper, and finally mass market paperback versions, LIV2 came out as a thick trade paperback. Nothing wrong with this except that the paper quality is close to pulp and the binding may not last too long.

That aside, the anthology still serves to present enjoyable stories of a variety and quality that will appeal to those who love things vampiric and those who just like a good dark read. -- Paula Guran

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Copyright © 2002 Paula Guran. All Rights Reserved.