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Midnight Mass Mass Market Paperback – October 27, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Professing (in a brief author's note) his fondness for thegenuinely evil Nosferatu of classic vampire fiction, Wilson(Gateways) concocts a garish B-movie scenario, an expansion ofa 1990 novella with the same title, in which armies of the un-deaddecimate Europe and later make the New York metropolitan area theirprivate feeding trough. An organized human insurgency begins whenFather Joe Cahill, a recovering alcoholic, reclaims his desecrated NewJersey parish and joins forces with his activist niece, Lacey, andCarole Hanarty, a nun who makes explosives for her own vendetta withthe "Vichy" (i.e., human collaborators). When vampires chomp FatherJoe to suppress the revolt, he knows he has only two weeks before hisfull vampire conversion to launch a counterattack. All the novel'scharacters are as outsized and engaging as comic book heroes andvillains. Though Wilson intentionally invokes well-known vampireclichÃ©sâ"the repellant power of the cross, grisly death by sunexposure, etc.â"he also works crafty new angles on his theme,among them vampire bloodlust paralleling the selfish excesses of humanMe-Generation types. Still, but for a few twists, there's little herethat hasn't already been attempted in novels ranging from RichardMatheson's I Am Legend (an acknowledged influence) to YvonneNavarro's Afterage (1993).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
*Starred Review* In Wilson's creepy, terrifying thriller, vampires are rapidly taking over the planet. They've got Europe, and now they're encroaching on the East Coast of the U.S. In New Jersey, Carole, a nun, witnesses the death and transformation into a vampire of her best friend. After killing the vampire who used to be her friend, Carole becomes a vigilante, killing vampires and "cowboys," the humans who have aligned themselves with the vampires. She saves a rabbi, Zev, who is seeking Father Joe, hoping to enlist him in the fight against the vampires. Joe's niece Lacey has turned up with the same idea, but Joe himself is trying to drink away his problems. Zev and Lacey, however, succeed in drawing him into the fight, and all three head to St. Anthony's Church to retake it from vampires led by Father Palmeri, a corrupt priest-turned-vampire. But when the vampires capture Joe, the stakes are raised in ways neither side could have imagined. Wilson makes his vampires truly frightening and the eerie atmosphere of the book not unlike that of the movie 28 Days Later. The undead might have every advantage, but the likable, compelling mortals in this gripping read aren't giving up easily. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
That said, Wilson tends to create some of the better plots. They can be a bit thin, as can the characters, but they're entertaining and well told. Sure, the dialogue is often something no one would ever say (you won't notice this if it isn't pointed out), the editing is once again kind of weak in a Wilson book (I have yet to read one where I haven't noticed a quotation left unclosed), and the back of the book calls the main character Dan instead of Joe (how'd that happen?)
But you'll enjoy the book. If you enjoy vampires in the grittier, unsexy 70s way, or if you enjoy Wilson, you'll enjoy this book. It's neither the best (nor grittiest) gritty vampire book, nor is it the caliber that most Repairman Jack books are. But it's entertaining, and isn't that the point?
It's not original (heck, it rips off one of the better recent gritty vampire movies.) The characters feel strained, as if Wilson tried too hard to make them interesting and instead made them forced. But it's quick. And you'll like it enough to investigate more Wilson.
This novel sets itself apart from the garbage can vampire films that are made today. No glittering bodies when exposed to sunlight. No matters of the heart between vampires and mortals. Crucifixes will make a vampire run for cover, which is a major plus.
I highly recommend this novel and any novel written by F. Paul Wilson!
Well Wilson decided he would write another Vampire novel and Midnight Mass is the result of that endeavor. Now Wilson thinks there aren't any redeeming qualities in Vampires, citing the fact that some authors romanticize even glorify the bloodsuckers in their recitals. With that in mind Wilson has written a book about Vampires as the merciless, venal, malevolent creatures they are supposed to be.
They came out of the East, starting shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain. They were unstoppable overrunning country after country killing millions, no billions or converting people into nocturnal monsters. Now they were entrenched in the East coast of America. They had a method, convert the religious and secular leadership, convert them and make resistance seem hopeless, they had a plan, transform all humans at first to a point of saturation, then using them only as food or breeding, harvesting at will. The Vampires also had allies, they left some of the lowlives and dreck alive to watch over them and seek out new victims during daylight, this unholy vanguard are called the "cowboys but, the Vampires the have a vulnerability.
The Vampires certainly seem invincible but in a small New Jersey town an unlikely cadre of citizens are fighting back, a pinprick at first but gradually a ripple. Meet Father Joe - a disgraced priest, Sister Carole - a one woman vigilante, Rabbi Zev - a rabbi with a cross, and Lacey - the feisty niece of Father Joe. Together and with the help of the congregation, they take back Father Joe's church, St Anthony, which the vampires, and cowboys, had taken over and made into a grisly, macabre, killing Temple.
In addition cowboys are being killed and displayed upside down from trees or telephone poles and even a couple Vampires including one of the strongest has been dispatched
In the overall plan of the Vampires, this little rebellion seems insignificant but they thrive on fear and no dissension can be tolerated, so help is sent from New York Vampire headquarters to stem the unrest.
I'll admit I'm a little ambivalent about Midnight Mass. F. Paul Wilson is one of probably my three or four favorite authors. I have read every book he has written including the inscrutable end of the Adversary series, Nightworld - which is mysteriously not in publication - so I tend to be favorably inclined toward the good doctor but I do have some issues with this book.
The Wilson writing style is still there, so the story is very accessible and understandable. His writing is also fluid and a pleasure to read. There are no unnecessary use of large words which the average Joe would have to look up. The story as a whole flows well and is fast paced. The book itself, at three hundred and thirty-two pages is short in this day and age of word processing and there are no dead or boring chapters.
Where I thought the book fell short was the premise of the book itself. I found it a little incredulous why or how legions of malevolent creatures would descend on the West from the East, as Gengis Khan or Tamerlane did centuries prior, merely because of the collapse of the Soviet Empire.
There was no explanation of how this event precipitated such an invasion nor of what was keeping them from doing so sooner. It was like they were hibernating or metamophosing. Any reasonable explanation would have been welcome.
Another thing I didn't like was, the Vampires were ruthless, yet their servants, the cowboys, from whom they depended on for daytime protection, seemed less than efficient, in some cases screw ups.
First, this is a good book and if you can discount my aversion to origin of the plot, I think you might like Midnight Mass. No it's not a classic but it is enjoyable, nonetheless, for fans of tongue in cheek horror plus a sequel may be forthcoming. I found the book to be innovative and the Vampires vulnerability well thought out. I enjoyed this book quite a bit, therefore it is deserving of a Final Rating of low four stars / high three stars rounded to four stars because of the author.
These vampires are aided by collaborators known as cowboys, humans who have been promised immortality if they do the vampires' dirty work for them. Cowboys round-up humans, as if they were cattle, for their masters to feed upon, and these hungry hordes of vampires seem unstoppable, as major cities in the United States succumb to their might.
When vampires arrive in a small sea side town in New Jersey, the going gets rough, as they meet resistance from an unusual group of humans: a nun with a secret mission, a disgraced priest with a bit of a drinking problem, his gay niece, and a rabbi. Together, they each do their bit to thwart the advancing horde of vampires. What happens to each one along the way makes for a page turning vampire tale.
This is definitely a book worth reading, if one enjoys vampire stories. Though very traditional in terms of vampire lore, there are enough twists to make it seem fresh and interesting. Though not as good as the author's other vampire tale, "The Keep", which is a masterpiece, this is a good enough yarn to keep the reader turning the pages until the very end. It will not disappoint.