Land of the Dead (Stoker’s Wilde #3) by Stephen Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Resist everything, except this series

Land of the dead

I am loving this series.  It’s just a fantastic combination of great writing, great characters and ridiculously outrageous adventures.

This is book No.3 in the Stoker Wilde series.  Having read the previous two I would heartily suggest that you start at the beginning because why deprive yourself the pleasure of reading them both.  That being said, and time being precious, etc, etc, I think you could easily step in at this point if you wish to do so.  Just, please, do yourself a favour and read the other two, pretty please.

At the risk of repeating myself from previous reviews what I really love about this is the style it’s told in.  Once again we have the epistolary style with diaries, reports and other items delivering the story.  I just adore this.  It’s so appropriate for the era in question and it also works well given the two central characters – I think Oscar Wilde famously kept a diary (because it made such sensational reading) and Stoker wrote his famous Dracula in the same fashion.  Plus Stoker’s excerpts take the form of reports which are written in a no-nonsense style and relate the facts without embellishment which totally feeds into the way his character comes across in this series.

The plot here once again channels things well renowned from the period. Séances for example were very popular as was a general taste for anything macabre.  Shelley’s Frankenstein was already popular feeding into the obsession with mortality (not to mention grave robbing) and all these things conspire to create a sinister novel where bodies are reanimated and used as vessels to bring back the souls of those that have passed away.

In this story mad scientist Victor Mueller still has an obsession with Bram’s blood believing it holds the key in his search to bring his wife back to life.  This leads us to repeated kidnap attempts that escalate dramatically as the story progresses.  On top of that we have a young girl called Lorna Bow, a medium who is gaining popularity for her ability to channel the spirits.  Of course the set up is a con but as it happens Lorna has a measure of talent which becomes easy to understand when her mother finally returns to collect her daughter.

Once again Stoker and Wilde are central and foremost in the story, but I loved the inclusion of so many strong females.  Stoker’s wife, Wilde’s fiancee, and even one of the actresses from the Lyceum Theatre, they all had great roles as did the young medium and her mother.

This takes us to the other element of this series that I’m loving.  It seems that each book has a fascination with some form of horror from the period.  We already have werewolves and vampires, plus the existence of an organisation that looks into the supernatural.  This particular story seems to take us down the route of monsters of a different ilk, it gave me decided Frankenstein vibes and this combined with travel to a completely different world that smacked very much of the Land that Time Forgot made me wonder what else these authors might have up their sleeves.  My tiny brain is running amok thinking of all the possibilities we still have left to explore.  The Mummy? Jekyll and Hyde, The Time Machine.  Maybe we will end up with an appearance by the famous Ripper or, well, I don’t know, my mind is going into overdrive thinking of all the possibilities and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

In terms of criticisms.  I did harbour a tiny moment when certain people were being resurrected of thinking ‘this is batshit crazy’.  But, I got over that feeling quite quickly.  Things do go decidedly over the top but to be honest I loved that element of the story.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 of 5 stars