Review: Bloodlines by James A. Moore

Bloodlines by James A. Moore
Earthling Publications (October 2019)
304 pages; $45 signed/numbered hardcover
Reviewed by Dave Simms

James A. Moore returns to the blood-drenched streets of Black Stone Bay in the third novel of this thrilling series. For those familiar with the spectacular Halloween series from Earthling’s Paul Miller, you know this annual offering is always a special treat. There’s never been a miss in the fourteen entries by the publisher, and this one is no exception. 

James Moore has been a force in horror for years and has decided to let it all hang out in this fang-laden story that reunites some of his most fascinating characters. Jason Soulis once created an army of vampires in Black Stone Bay that decimated the town, unleashing several ghoulish “experiments” that he aimed to perfect. Jonathan Crowley, a hunter with a backstory that is worthy of a novel unto itself, has his own tanglings with the ill-fated place he has been called back to. 

Aleister Blake had been one of Soulis’ earliest experiments, left for dead on the battlefields, buried beneath layers of bodies. Awakened and invigorated with vengeance, he enters the town with the mission: kill his creator. Maggie Preston has been living a peaceful life with her human lover and family, yet finds herself entangled in the coming battle between the pair of evil forces, bound to Jason despite his killing her father. When a young college student calls on Crowley to help her, he returns for yet another adventure. When the forces meet, the streets become a bloodbath that may leave few standing. 

Moore has crafted an intricate cast of characters, weaved together with a skill that allows the action to fly by without time for catching one’s breath. Nearly every main player is severely tainted, deepening the novel on various levels, diving deep beneath the evil of Soulis and Blake and the redemption of Crowley, peeling back the layers to expose characters that resonate long after the final page is turned. 

Vampire tales are incredibly difficult to pull off these days, with every trope and variation seemingly drained (pun intended), yet Moore has penned something that’s worthy of the canon here—because of the players within. Black Stone Bay is drawn just as beautifully chilling as Charles Grant’s Oxrun Station or Josh Malerman’s Goblin. Hopefully, Moore will continue to return to this town where things with teeth continue to emerge and surprise.

Welcome back to Earthling’s Halloween, where James Moore will be your guide through a highly recommended romp of horror that twists through a crimson-soaked roller-coaster of terror. A wonderful addition to the series and yet another fine story by the ever entertaining Moore.

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