It is rare for me to find what I consider to be a new and fresh take on the vampire mythos. But I think Leigh M. Lane–in this instance writing as Lisa Lane–has achieved it.
Jane is a vampire who was turned during the Summer of Love in the 1960’s, when she was only seventeen. She’s lived in communes and on the streets, but mainly she walks from town to town, smoking weed (Is that what the kids are calling it these days?) and drinking coffee in an attempt to drive away her own personal demons and find peace with herself.
I’ve read about vamps who hate to take human lives, but Jane goes a step further: she’s a vegetarian. Well, sort of. Until the hunger takes her, that is. But she is able to restrain herself to drinking from only the dregs of society. She is also an introspective soul searcher, always trying to do the right thing by everyone. I appreciated that she didn’t completely lose her personality when she was changed and that she craves cigarettes more than blood. She also believes that if she does enough good, then God will remove her curse.
Barefoot, she walks across the country, getting herself into trouble in these four novelettes. In “Hair”, she stops the South, where she encounters a werewolf among the rednecks. (That’s a great book title!) The description of backwoods antics and shotgun justice felt eerily accurate to me.
“Love Beads” shows Jane weakened and desperate to find the solution to what is draining her of life.
In the tender “Flashbacks”, Jane meets with a former friend, which sets off a storm of confusion driving her back to the streets and underground where she meets a homeless Vet who may have something to teach her about life and death.
“Flower Power” was my favorite of the collection and a great story to end with. It showed a manipulative predator from Jane’s past, who caused her endless torture. She has a chance to destroy the woman, but will she take it or will her hippie tendencies to let things be take over?
Jane doesn’t have a lot of squicky killing and fang-piercing-throat action, but I was okay with that. I enjoyed the collection thoroughly and I would consider it horror for those who say they don’t read horror. It is light hearted and fun and I sympathized with Jane’s plight. She’s trying to do good in the world, and maybe…maybe she has.
Find Jane on Amazon here.