Vampire of the midnight sun - by Priscilla Bettis
This latest offering from Demain Publishing continues its run of short books. A collection of two short stories from Priscilla Bettis are on offer, the first bearing the same name as the collection’s cover title, the second is “The fire witch and the cowboy”. Running to about 55 pages, some of which are endorsements or a list of other Demain publications, there’s just enough here to give you a bite-sized chunk when you have to relax – I finished both stories on two consecutive lunch breaks, to give you an idea.
Priscilla's writing is on top form in Vampire of the Midnight sun – the premise is a great, the writing evokes the hardship the two travelers undergo (I won't summarize it here, check out the blurb on Amazon or Goodreads). Bettis’ detail-rich descriptions add all of the tension and mounting doom you’ll want to discover for yourself. The base idea of someone fundamentally believing themselves to be a vampire, and the other person almost requiring them to be, is wonderful. Bettis sets up the penultimate scene to a “one or the other” type of decision to be made at the end of the short, a do-or-die type thing, and that did lead to me feeling the ending was somewhat abrupt and more lighthearted than the lead-up, in the last couple of paragraphs, but that’s probably just me, I haven’t seen any other reviewer single it out. The writing is solid, I liked this short.
The fire witch and the cowboy begins in a somber tone and builds very quickly to a situation I found very difficult to visualize or believe in, despite the fact I tried pretty hard to do precisely that. With this one there were too many instances of things that didn’t add up for me – I couldn’t comprehend why a train was required (and it was lucky it went directly to where they wanted to go and that she had one?) – why the witch hadn’t used her powers in her original predicament, why the train driver was still alive/cursed/what he actually was doing there, and why he said what he said to who he did (no spoilers here). It just seemed one step too many out of my suspension of disbelief circle, so to speak. It was a little too many threads being pulled together to tie off in a nice bow – It felt very busy trying to put all of the pieces into an unlikely situation. The writing is fluid, there’s no doubt this story resonated with other reviewers, it just didn’t with me.
I’m giving this collection 4⭐ ‘s because Priscilla’s voice remains excellent, and her output is fantastic, and I really want something longer now. It's time for a novel, Priscilla. I want to invest a lot more into whatever world you transport us to next. That the second short missed its mark with me is irrelevant, I nevertheless felt the collection delivered Demain’s emphasis on short, sharp shocks.
You can buy Vampire of the midnight sun - by clicking on the appropriate Amazon link, below:
You can visit Priscilla's website, HERE
You can follow Priscilla on Twitter, HERE.