Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Dracula Dossier by James Reese

A Fiend For A Fiend

Have you ever wondered what inspired a writer to write a particular story? Was it from pure imagination or a remarkable experience? In Bram Stoker’s case, what drove him to write about the most horrifying, most enigmatic, most evil villain that became the most monstrous of all time? James Reese provided a fictional answer of his own.

The Dracula Dossier is supposedly composed of a newly revealed collection of Bram Stoker’s journal, letters, and news clippings; which obviously is a nod to the Dracula novel’s structure. The collector pre-arranged this collection chronologically before sending them to a trusted writer. This collection offered great insight into the fictional Stoker’s life and detailed events that will eventually inspire him to write his renowned novel.

The narrative of the book spun a suspenseful tale of Stoker’s discovery and involvement in Jack the Ripper’s bloody career in London. Being a witless participant in a cult ritual, Stoker felt responsible and tracked down the criminal. The task proved to be both horrifying and taxing for him and his friends, not discounting the toll is imposed on the citizens of London.

I finished this book after stalling it for 2 months; because despite the cover line, after reading 150 pages, there was still no suspense going on. But going back to it was a must, "a half-read book is a half-finished love affair" after all. James Reese is no doubt a talented writer. He must have studied every inch of the Dracula, because he emulated Stoker’s writing so well, down to its Victorian theme. He made a good job of weaving non-fictional characters into the story, mapping them well into the era, which probably took a lot of research. Lastly, there were plenty of references that Dracula readers can undoubtedly pick up.  What struck me most, during those first 150 pages, was Mr. T.M. Penfold. He was the character I wished to have the best ending in this story and did not disappoint me.

What undid it for me (1) was the wait for the suspense to happen; (2) the ending was engineered to a point that it was already unbelievable; (3) the premise, Jack the Ripper as the inspiration simply devalued the eeriness and immensity of Dracula.

Read this if you are an avid Bram Stoker fan; you like the supernatural; have patience with Victorian writings; like creepy stories; and don't mind waiting for things to happen.

Book Details:
Title: The Dracula Dossier
Author: James Reese
Publisher: Harper
Genre:  Fiction/Suspense/Paranormal
Rating:  ★★ ½ 


  1. I will read Dracula first, and then line this up next. I'm curious!

  2. Aieeeee!!! I posted a comment last week and somehow I don't see it here!

    Anyway, I love the novel Dracula. I think it's way ahead of its time, horror novel or not. A lot of people were surprised to note of the epistolary form, which came from different points of view. So I'm curious about this novel that you just reviewed, Louize!

    1. Hi Peter. I'm sorry, your previous comment probably got lost in the system somehow.

      My fascination with Bram Stoker's Dracula was the foremost reason why I read this. I have a thing for epistolary form novels. Give it a try. You and Monique are welcome to share my copy.