I read this in one sitting, because I couldn’t stop turning pages. The story is well done to say the least. Leist weaves together a gothic horror story that includes both good and evil vampires. Unlike many stories that include vampires, The Dead Game focuses on our human heroines and their efforts to solve the mysteries of Oasis Florida.
Keeping to the format for good gothic horror, Leist introduces a tantalizing romantic element. The haunted house had a personality all its own. Be certain to read the prologue to catch the house’s seductive side.
If you like good gothic horror this ranks right up there with Anne Rice and Radcliff.
This review has renewed my determination to complete book 2 of The Dead Game. It’s amazing that just when you’re about to give up, something like this comes along to reaffirm your faith in yourself.
A waitress with a name tag that read “Rose” came over to serve them. She looked friendly with her bright-red hair and snapping gum. She took their order and then asked if she could assist them with anything else.
Linda decided to come straight out with what they wanted to know. She began by explaining their situation. “Two of our friends disappeared from a party given at End House this past Friday night. We suspect that the people who reside on the hill are the ones responsible. Do you know anything about them that can help us?”
Rose called over two men. “Hey! Rob and Joe! We need help here!” Linda and Shana, becoming frightened, began to stand up. Then they noticed that the two old men, who were coming over to them, had big smiles on their wrinkled faces. They joined them at their booth.
Rose said to the men, “These women were at that party and they think that the hill people had something to do with the disappearances.”
The one called Joe, who had a full head of white hair and a long white beard, nodded his head in agreement. “We have always suspected that those people were evil. Tourists disappear every year and nothing is ever done about it. The sheriff seems to be in cahoots with them. Parties are given on the hill on the same two nights each year. On these nights, shadows can be seen creeping around the deserted streets of town.”
Rob, who wore very thick glasses and had curly grey hair, added, “The parties look like secret meetings of some society. Everything is always done after dark.”
Rose spoke up. “We never see these people until the sun goes down. They don’t bother talking to us. I’ve been living here thirty years and I’ve spoken to only a few of them.”
“Our town doesn’t go out after dark; we steer clear of the hill people. There have been many legends, but we don’t know if any are true,” Joe said.
Shana asked, “What are some of the legends?”
“One legend describes the hill people as vampires in hiding. They meet with the rest of the vampires in the world twice a year. These meetings are planning sessions on how to keep their species alive,” Joe said.
“Another legend has the hill people as good vampires that are trying to rid the world of The Dead, a sect of evil vampires who enjoy killing people—just for fun. The Dead have greater powers than regular vampires and are led by a strong and malicious head vampire. The good vampires meet twice a year to plan the defense of their slowly diminishing group,” Rob explained.
“How can you remain living here if you believe the worst of the people in town?” Linda asked. She didn’t believe in vampires, but if these people thought so poorly of the townspeople, then why didn’t they just leave?
Rose answered for them, “We don’t know if the legends are true. We’ve been living here unhurt all these years. Maybe the tourists disappearing are just coincidences. We can’t pack up our whole village and leave. We need the income from the ocean: the fishing has been very profitable.”
“Maybe they want you to remain living here for some sinister purpose,” Shana said.
“If you find out anything, please let us know,” said Rose, with concern beginning to dawn in her eyes.
“Don’t worry. We’ll let you know of any new developments. We’ll figure this out and find our friends,” Linda replied, trying to downplay Shana’s dire warning.
The village looked lovely and peaceful on the surface, but Linda was afraid that there was much more brewing beneath the surface. As she ate her lunch, she tried to be as cheerful as possible so that Shana wouldn’t notice her rising fears and suspicions.
It comes slowly. In the night. Walking on silent feet. It draws closer. You run faster. It speeds up. You dash into a building. An empty school. It follows. You can feel its presence. You run faster. Down the deserted hallways. Checking the doors. Locked. You turn around. Darkness descends.