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Dark Passages Paperback – August 9, 2011
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All the names in both the actors and characters are change, along with the time setting. Dark Shadows become Dark Passages, the Collins family becomes the Stanhope family, the character of Barnabas is Sebastian Stanhope, played by Ian Fletcher, Angelique is Charmaine du Champs, who is played by Camilla Nesbitt. Many others fictional names, both character and actor, but basically, this is a mixture of KLS's biography, the real history of Dark Shadows, with some fantasy from the show thrown in, but set in New York City.
Meg arrives from Twin Lakes Minnesota, where she first works as a Playboy bunny at a local club, but soon an opportunity opens up to be an actress on the show Dark Passages, first as a waitress, then as a governess. Sound familiar?
The fantasy comes in where Camilla is found to be a real witch who carries a grudge against Meg and her family back in Minnesota, and is out for revenge. Only in this story, Meg herself is a vampire who needs blood for energy. However she can live in the daylight, and she only get animals, not humans if she can avoid it. Meg also has the ability to turn into animals, and can travel at high speeds. She has an ally, Haddie, a serviceman who died but comes back as a ghost to help Meg defeat Camilla.
Violence and killings ensue, and Meg and Camilla end up in a few "catfights" but more vicious.
As Kathryn Leigh Scott continued to play damsels in distress in the real show, Dark Shadows, she must have imagined what kind of a character she could have been if she has the abilitily to fight back. This book, in a way, tells a story of her being able to do so.
Many characters and events (such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy) happen here, and there are scenes where Meg goes out about in town, both as a bunny and on dates, where she is not so innocent.
I feel that in this book, the author wants to reveal a "dark and strong side" of her.
One final note: this is stricly a works of fiction regardless of the parallels to KLS's life. In real life, Kathryn Scott was best friends with Lara Parker, the actress who play Angelique in the real show, Dark Shadows. It even amazed a lot of fans when they saw them both talking like friends at the same table in a restaurant. Just thought I'd tell you.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to most people, and highly recommend it to any DS fan, especially those willing to venture into parallel timeline stories.The writing is crisp and clean, and the plot is well-thought out; it's a well-balanced, imaginative tale that left me hoping for a sequel.
Being a writer/editor myself, I found a few minor points that I would probably have flagged, but in the interest of not 'spoiling' anything, I'll leave them unmentioned, especially since they didn't even slightly affect my enjoyment of the book. (That's saying a lot, since I'm known to throw books across the room when the writer or editor leaves an obvious plot or style error.)
One of the things I really liked about the book was how atmospheric it was. Although her writing is very clean and elegant, Ms. Scott has a talent for detail that immediately brings the experience and characters to life. The elephant in the room, and it's a good one, is the question of whether the *characters* resemble arguably real-life counterparts from the show. I can't say, but certain elements (the Joan Bennett character's distinctive lunch bag for instance) seem pretty familiar. Having not been there, that's where the similarities may end. That doesn't keep you from feeling like you're getting a truly revealing feel for the life behind the cameras. If you want to sense how Dark Shadows was made, this is really a gift.
And the vampire element is fun, too.
Meg, an aspiring actress who supports herself as a Bunny at the Playboy Club, lands a much coveted role on a brand new soap opera called Dark Passages. Her inital excitement is dampened somewhat when she suspects that someone in the cast may have discovered her secret life as - a vampire. It soon becomes obvious that Meg has a supernatural enemy among the cast of the show.
In addition, Meg faces all of the 'normal' struggles of a young woman alone in the big city. The story does a great job of taking the reader back to the early sixties. For some readers the sex and supernatural elements may be too tame, but for me they were just right. Highly recommended, and I look forward to reading more of Miss Scott's books.