Fear Me by Stephen Laws

(No Series)

Gideon loved women...to death. He seduced them, used them horribly, then discarded them, drained of their very lives. Until the day three women disobeyed him and dared to fight back, to seek revenge, leaving him in a pool of blood. Leaving them free at last from his depravity. — The women don't know that Gideon can't be killed that easily. They don't know what he really is. He has returned to seek vengeance of his own, and their mere deaths will no longer be enough to satisfy him. He will make them pay dearly for crossing him. But first he will destroy everyone they love.

Vampire stories are a dime a dozen, so it's a given that for them to be even mildly interesting, they can't be cursed with the same endless repetition. Laws injects nifty enough twists, first in how the vampire strangely feeds, and second in how he keeps himself alive. In feeding he collects a woman and keeps stealing her away when he wishes to sate his hunger, until eventually she is dead from this, err...erotic style of nourishment. No blood for this bad boy!

I had written how different it was in how he kept his internal, eternal clock ticking, but then thought better and used the delete button. Maybe this is something best discovered by the reader and not spoiled here. I will just say the pattern of "seven" and "rage" was a clever tactic and small sub-mystery.

The villain, Gideon, is a nasty vampire - you fans of fanged fiends who hate the Anne Rice trend have reason to applaud. The protagonist is a decent enough guy but not overly interesting. The three women range from weepy to superhero. No one is over-stereotypical and the Law's paper people come alive well enough to manage, but there's just too many of them. It hurts the pacing a bit; I hate too much head hopping. I also wished we could have seen inside the vampire's head some, for he likely would be the more interesting of the lot.

Pacing is nimbly satisfying, beginning with an adumbration of the protagonist and what's to come, yet leaving much more to be unearthed later. Atmosphere is delightfully horror-filled, particularly the apartment scene. (Sadly, the library massacre which follows a short while later was a smidge cheesy). Some deaths are literally depressing; thankfully Laws does not shy away from exploring violence or blood.

The author's writing style is morbidly apt with the subject, not bloated with being overly descriptive or annoying 'poetic-like musings'. He keeps the words suited with the story, trying to keep the pace steady. I will say this book dares to lose some interest in the middle, it just drags on a little much, and the overabundance of characters doesn't help. At the end the fight thankfully was not a cop-out, being lengthy and complicated, while keeping its depressing ring.

Fear Me is a typical dark horror novel that doesn't shy away from pain, death, or red stuff. Characters aren't too grating and I can understand their motivations, and the ending is anything but wimpy. Still, Fear Me lacks some luster by not standing out enough, using a quick enough pace to stay interesting but not riveting. The villain isn't explored too deeply and just comes across as cruel - which, for this type of book, is good - but I couldn't care less about his fate either. Mild cheesiness during moments brought it down more points. A book worth reading but not seeking out.