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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Dracula vs. Hitler by Patrick Sheane Duncan

The title of this book caught my eye as I was poking thru my to read pile. It sounded like it could be some exploitive fun and I had just finished some heavy reading, so I thought ‘What the Hell’ and dove in. I wasn’t expecting much but I’ll be damned if this wasn’t a great time. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

The plot of this book is straightforward. It is set during World War II, specifically in Romania near Transylvania. Van Helsing and his beautiful daughter are members of the resistance doing their best to sabotage the German war effort. To that end the British send a couple of agents in to help them, including the grandson of Harker who stopped the vampire alongside the elder Van Helsing! They do battle with the Gestapo, but when things heat up and begin turning against them the decision is made to release Dracula. See Van Helsing didn’t destroy him but instead imprisoned him with a stake thru his heart.

So, the vampire is released and while annoyed at being trapped for so many years decides that he dislikes the Germans even more than his old foe. Plus, he is not only free to, but encouraged to vent his bloodlust on them. Eventually the Nazi’s figure out that a vampire is running loose and that brings Hitler himself to see Dracula, who they have captured. This leads to a prison break, lots of dead Germans, a close call for old Adolph, and a twist that I admittedly saw coming but still enjoyed.

I enjoyed the heck out of this book, as I’ve already said. The story is told thru a series of journal entries, an unpublished novel, and reports back to Berlin by the local Gestapo thugs. This could have ended badly as the narrative keeps switching between characters, but Duncan handles this with an expert touch. In fact, it was fun to hear events from different characters as their voices come thru clearly in the writing. This made the characters, both good and bad, jump off the page and that itself made the book even more engaging. There is a lot of action in this one and the story never drags.

The attacks are laid out in brutal fashion and described with some glee by the author. Arms, legs, and heads are severed. Necks are snapped and mundane things like guns and explosives are used to dispatch the “bad” guys. If you want some gore in your horror novel, then Dracula vs. Hitler is the one for you! I was also pleased at the detail used in setting the historical scene. Of course, being such a fantastic tale, some liberties are taken, but as a history nerd I couldn’t nitpick the book at all. I love that so much attention was paid to the small details including uniforms, equipment, and dates.

There is one thing that didn’t bother me but might disappoint others. Beware that spoilers are coming. Don’t get mad at me I did warn you. Okay… ready? Dracula and Hitler never actually fight. They are in close proximity to each other, but someone always intervenes at the last minute to prevent an actual showdown. Though given that Dracula is an immortal undead creature it wouldn’t be much of a scrap. Still, it was something that I thought I’d mention.

I highly recommend this book. It is one of the best blind reads that I’ve had in a long time. I had no idea what I was getting and what I got was great. I’m going to be on the lookout for more material from this author. Do yourself a favor and track down a copy. 


Ó Copyright 2021 John Shatzer

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