Dracula Cha Cha Cha by Kim Newman

What more could you ask for? Dracula meets the Giallo murder mystery and Bond!
Dracula Cha Cha Cha book cover

Book of the Year 1998 (see all)

Rome 1959 and Count Dracula is about to marry the Moldavian Princess Asa Vajda. Journalist Kate Reed flies into the city to visit the ailing Charles Beauregard and his vampire companion Geneviève. She finds herself caught up in the mystery of the Crimson Executioner who is bloodily dispatching vampire elders in the city. She is on his trail, as is the undead British secret agent, Bond.

In this, the third in the Anno Dracula series, Newman sets his ambitious story in 1950s Rome. This is an original and ingenious idea. Dracula Cha Cha Cha can explore a brand new world: the world of 1950s continental glamour and paparazzi, of movie makers and stars, of big parties and decadence.

I don’t think this would have been as effective had Newman took the more obvious era of the Second World War as his setting. He has “done” the whole war thing from a vampire perspective in The Bloody Red Baron, so if he did it here as well, it could have become a simple re-tread. Thankfully this is a bold gamble which pays off.

The novel is populated by characters you could find in Federico Fellini, Maro Bava and Dario Argento films, and oozes atmosphere and class. From its intriguing opening flight into Rome, to its trip through the chaotic streets of the cosmopolitan city, this third entry holds you in an iron grip and never lets go.

I am a big Ian Fleming fan, so it was a delight to see a vampire secret agent with the surname Bond involved in the proceedings! Newman has really done his research again, he even remembers the special brand of cigarette Fleming’s famous creation smokes. It is small attention to details like this which make reading any Newman novel such a joy. Not only can you enjoy being swept up in all the action, you can also spend hours doing follow up reading or viewing yourself.

Like the others, this is packed with movie and novel references, as well as nods to history. Newman has expertly and lovingly crafted his own alternate vampire universe, and I thoroughly enjoy it every time I visit it.

This will hold up to repeated readings and guarantees Newman’s place as one of the most influential writers of horror in the world today.

What more could you ask for? Dracula meets the Giallo murder mystery and Bond! There is even a 1968 set novella Aquarius as an added bonus.

This will chill and amuse the reader, transporting you to a bygone era of cinema and culture. Unmissable.


Anno Dracula – Dracula Cha Cha Cha by Kim Newman
Published 2012 by Titan Books
ISBN: 9780857680853

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