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Fangland Paperback – January 29, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The unusually large cast that reads Marks's multiperspective, modern vampire story helps make up for the lack of special effects one might expect. There is no creepy music, no doors creaking or wind shrieking through the trees to augment the tale of what happens after Evangeline Harker, a lovely assistant producer of a venerable TV news show, travels to Romania to meet a fabled gangster. Her trip goes horribly wrong and soon her colleagues in New York are afflicted as well. Marks, a former 60 Minutes producer, is at his best when writing about the life of the newsroom, which we witness through the conversation and thoughts of people who are all concerned about Harker's disappearance and the horrors that have followed, but who observe each other and the rest of the show's staff with keen distrust and disdain. This reading adds little to the chilling story aside from the varied voices, yet as a novel take on the worn-out vampire story, with a steady drumbeat of macabre events alternating with dryly funny commentary, it is sure to hold listeners until the end.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

Professional and personal aspirations collide when Evangeline, an ambitious associate producer of The Hour ("the most successful news show in American television history") accepts Robert's wedding proposal just before jetting off on an assignment she would rather dodge. Her uber-producer dismisses her protestations, so it's off to Transylvania to evaluate a possible story on Romanian reputed crime lord Ion Torgu. Marks' sense of place (a horse and wagon in front of a Coke sign symbolizes the transition from communism) and tone-setting emphasis on blood and bloodlines kick in early as Evangeline mulls over blending her Italian Irish heritage and Robert's mix of Creek Indian and the U.S. marshals who fought them, a union represented for her by the engagement ring she insists on wearing to meet the small, pale Torgu, who proves a kind of terrorist, and who infects her "like a virus" when she is abducted. She resurfaces months later, recuperating in Transylvania and recalling nothing. A scary twenty-first-century take on the stuff of Dracula, worthy of its rightful place among others. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143112538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143112532
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,825,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Once, years ago in Belgrade, I met a beautiful blonde Serbian nationalist named Simonida, and we got to talking vampires. I knew from my own research that the vampire of American popular culture had its roots in Serbian folklore, and she offered to do more than confirm the truth. She asked me whether I'd like to meet a few vampires in person. I declined, but out of my cowardice, my latest novel Fangland was born. A few hundred kilometers to the west, the Bosnian war was unfolding, with images of violence and brutality that wouldn't have been out of place in a saga of the undead.

Aside from vampire-hunting, I've been a 60 Minutes producer and a Berlin bureau chief for US News & World Report. My books include three novels and one work of journalistic memoir, Reasons To Believe: One Man's Journey Among The Evangelicals and The Faith He Left Behind.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Zoyd on January 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Well, think again! In this amazing, weird, genre-bending and -blending, different-from-any-other-book-you're-likely-to-read novel, you'll get to know a particularly nasty specimen. Forget the teeth - this vampire uses a saw and a bucket. But FANG LAND isn't only a smart and frankly terrifying retelling of Bram Stoker's classic (which it is indebted to on a structural level, too); Marks uses the foil of the vampire novel to say some pretty serious things about why our media suck. (Excuse the pun.) And he does so with a satirical edge that is all the sharper because he used to be a producer for 60 Minutes himself. A great read and more profound than you'd think. The cover is spectacular, too.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jessica S. on May 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Fangland can basically be described as an updated Dracula. In fact the main character, a young woman is named Evangeline Harker, just like Stoker's classic Jonathan Harker. There are even a few names that are re-used as well. Evangeline is a reporter for a TV show called the Hour. She is sent to Romania to interview a possible crime lord named Ion Torgu, who presumes the role of Dracula. Although it is never said if he is truly a vampire, he is something else that is not of this world however.

Similar to Stoker's tale, Evangeline remains too long on her trip and doesn't return at the appointed time, but for some reason someone is taking over Evangeline's life and sending emails in her name and shipping strange crates back to the office. Evangeline loses her memory of the duration of the trip and when she returns home her memories slowly return to her and the terror of them drives her insane. A horror has taken over the people of the Hour and Evangeline must do all that she can to defeat the monster.

Overall a very good book. If you've read Stoker's classic Dracula you'll love this modern new twist. As mentioned before there are a few names that are similar if I'm remembering correctly. A must read for all Dracula fans, you won't be disappointed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Clarice Marchman-Jones on August 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
This novel started out with so much promise. I really liked the fact that Marks was telling the story with emails, journals, newspaper clippings, etc. in the style of Bram Stoker. Unfortunately, it was soon apparent that EVERY character spoke in the EXACT same voice. Even worse, emails were so lengthy and written in such elegant prose that it was just unbelievable. And a personal journal that one of the characters was being FORCED to keep as a therapy tool by his psychiatrist, (again, written in the same voice as every other character - are they ALL mental?) was also written eloquently - as though it was something he expected to publish rather than something he was writing under duress.

Even though the "vampire" was very different than Stoker's Dracula, and the way to render him helpless was sort of interesting (if you don't have too puritanical a mind-set), reading this novel finally became too tiresome because of the "one voice" writing style and slightly annoying due to numerous plot holes

Not only did this book not go back on my shelf to take up precious space, I could not even in good conscience donate it to Friends of the Library. I put this one in the recycle bin.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rich Gubitosi on December 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Novels like Fangland vex me because I can never comprehend exactly what is going on. Is it because the novel is deliberately vague, or am I just an imperceptive reader? I will try to encapsulate the novel, but keep in mind that it is a difficult book to encapsulate.

Fangland is about Evangeline Harker, an associate producer at a 60 Minutes-type news program who travels to Romania to judge whether a Keyzer Soze-like criminal is suitable for her show, only to learn that he is something unnaturally horrific with plans to plant his terror in New York.

The novel is three stories in one. It is a modernization of Bram Stoker's Dracula, in which the vampire uses technology and programming to spread his dominion. It is also an insightful insider's view of a news program, written by a former producer of 60 Minutes. It is also a commentary on the fascination with slaughter among the media and news watchers.

Fangland is a vampire story the same way F. Paul Wilson's The Keep is a vampire story. Ion Torgu, the Romanian criminal, is vampire-like but without any of the mythological trappings (e.g. aversion to garlic and holy symbols). Nevertheless, vampire mythology is featured in the book. The use of e-mails and journals brings to mind the epistolary style of Bram Stoker's seminal work, and Evangeline's last name cannot be a coincidence. Oddly, no one in the novel mentions that she has the same surname as the characters in Dracula (unless I missed it). I also equate Trotta with Van Helsing, although I might be stretching. (Yet he is called Von Trotta at one point.)

In my opinion, the novel's best scenes deal with the news program and the disparate people involved in its production. The author obviously knows the inner workings and hierarchies of such a show.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gregg Eldred VINE VOICE on November 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Looking for something a little "different," I picked up a copy of Fangland by John Marks.

Evangeline Harker is an associate producer for the long running, New York-based, television show The Hour (think 60 Minutes). She isn't happy that her current assignment is to go to Romania, and do background on a well known, but little seen, criminal, Ion Torgu. Part of the unhappiness is that she just got engaged. The other part is that she is an associate producer - one of the lowest rungs in television news (long hours, very little pay). And then she has issues trying to get to the appointed meeting on time. After meeting with Torgu, Evangeline goes missing for several months, but she does turn up - a long way from her earlier destination and without her memory. While she was missing, some strange items were delivered to The Hour offices. And the employees are slowly losing their minds.

Marks employs some unique methods of telling the story. First person, e-mail, instant messaging chat transcripts, and journals. This allows the reader to experience the story from many different views. But, in my case, created some initial confusion. When first introduced, I needed a few moments to figure out who was talking and to determine the method of communication. Marks keeps each of these different methods unique to specific characters, so when you come across the next journal entry, for example, you know who is talking to you.

This was a very good horror novel (we are talking about vampires, by the way). Set in the present day, using current technology, it shows that you are not safe from ancient evil. By providing you with different viewpoints, Marks really draws you into the story. But at the same time, I wish that he had spent more time with Evangeline, as it seemed that the reader had to fill in some blanks. Overall, a very creepy novel.
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