Written by Stephen Laws
Published by Leisure Books
I have to say, despite the over-saturation of the vampire genre as a general rule, it sure does give some authors out there the freedom to re-invent the beast for their own purposes. That’s pretty much exactly what Laws does with his latest offering, with varying results.
Originally release in the UK as Gideon (a much better title, if you ask me…), the story concerns three women from different walks of life who fall under the spell of a mysterious man. He uses them for all manners of sexual perversions, which they’re powerless to stop him from doing, and in the process takes just a bit of their life essence every time.
One of the girls decides to find out more about this man, despite the horrible fear that arises in her whenever she tries to even mention her encounters to others. She hires a private eye who discovers the man’s name is Gideon and that he lives in a hotel. That’s about all there is to know, save for his appetite for the opposite sex.
The girls get together and realize the only way they can be free of the man is to kill him. Through the information obtained through the P.I. they track him down, confront him, and shoot him to death.
Or at least, that’s what they thought they had done.
At the same time a young man named Paul is dealing with a newfound urge to kill. Not just any random stranger, but a particular other person who he somehow knows is on their way to kill him. After watching his father get shot and killing the assailant, he realizes there is another out to get him, and soon the bloodlust is all there is.
He’s captured by a man that’s been tracking Gideon for half a decade, waiting for his revenge for what was done to his young wife. Paul is his last chance to enact it, realizing that if he can’t track the monster down himself, he will have to bring it to him. Or at least, that’s the way his plan looks…
These two plotlines don’t really come together in the sense of character-crossing until the very end, but both are important to the overall story of Gideon, a very unique vampire (at least in terms of the lore) who can control his victims emotions and will, and subsists only on the life of the victim, which he drains during sex. Laws’ writing is solid throughout, with some minor issues here and there.
First and foremost, his staging of the action sequences. He has a flare for the over-dramatic, it seems, which is hard to describe here but will make perfect sense upon reading it. It almost seems at times like he’s writing it for easy adaptation into a shooting script the way he has the action broken up, and it can get a bit tiring at times, especially when the action just goes on and on long after you feel it should end.
I also got the impression that he didn’t have a very firm grasp on his characters. They all seemed static and 2-dimensional, making it harder and harder to care about them as the book progressed. The only one I really liked was Van Buren (the man chasing Gideon) because he’s really the only one that seemed fully developed. Ironic, since he was assuredly the most single-minded of them all. For some reason all the characters just seemed too damn serious and melodramatic,which made for a long read as I passed page 300. The book doesn’t really have a good clip to it like I had thought it would, choosing instead to draw out the story of the women and Paul until I, personally, just wanted it to end.
But Fear Me is not a bad novel; Laws takes a very different approach with his vampire and makes him utterly unsympathetic, just something that is pure unmitigated evil. He also never tells any of the story from Gideon’s perspective which helps keep the character enigmatic until the characters figure out what’s going on and how it can be stopped.
For those of you that just can’t get enough new twists on the vampire mythology, this book should give you something new to wrap your brain around. The rest of us, including those of us that wish no one was ever allowed to write about vampires again because we’re so sick of them, the book will seem, if nothing else, overlong.