Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard – Kim Newman

Following on from the reissues of Anno Dracula, The Bloody Red Baron and Dracula Cha Cha Cha comes the new fourth volume in the series. Parts of the book have been previously published in novelette form, but I hadn’t seen those, so it was all new to me.

In a prelude set in 1944, a boy is made into a vampire by Dracula himself. Later, that boy attaches himself to a film crew struggling to make a movie of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which in this slightly twisted reality is being made by Francis Ford Coppola, and is quite clearly more like Apocalypse Now than any vampire movie we’d be familiar with.

Later, using the name Johnny Pop, the vampire settles in New York, mingles with Andy Warhol and runs a thriving illicit drug business. The drug in question being vampire blood…

Later still, he heads to Hollywood and adopts the name Johnny Alucard, where his ambitions become all too clear.

As before, it’s great fun. Familiar characters from previous books in the series are wound into the plot, real people and fictional characters blend together in the usual way, and the usual game of “spot the reference” can be played. Thought I suspect you’d actually have to be Kim Newman to get them all. I was particularly pleased by the appearance of a Los Angeles policeman when a murder is committed. Raincoat. Glass eye. Just one more thing. Of course, mentioning his name wouldn’t be part of the Kim Newman game, but it’s obviously him.

And there’s more – leading up to an insane Live Aid style concert for Transylvania, which Johnny Alucard believes will have a very interesting result. And no, you won’t get any spoilers from me.

Excellent stuff, highly recommended.