by Mauro Corso
Mauro Corso is a journalist, writer, and actor who lives between Rome and Berlin. As a special contributor to MartinLastrapes.com, Corso has written a series of Guest Posts about vampires in popular culture. This is PART 1 of 4…
As an avid fan of Inside the Outside, I was thrilled to learn that Martin Lastrapes’ next novel was going to be about vampires.
It seemed to me like a logical evolution, as vampirism is the supernatural equivalent of cannibalism; and, of course, there would seem to be some common ground between blood-sucking vampires and flesh-eating cannibals—at the very least, in the powerful drive to hunt.
Of course, Timber Marlow (the protagonist cannibal of Inside the Outside) didn’t have an eternity to live, as is the case with vampires, which is an important difference. While, at the end of the day, there are more differences than similarities between vampires and cannibals, the “man as prey” concept is both a powerful and central theme for both.
In the last few years vampires have been all the rage and, while I was excited to find out Lastrapes would be trying his hand at the vampire genre, I couldn't help but think, "Aren’t there already too many fanged demons already?!” Lastrapes displayed masterful craftsmanship in Inside the Outside, so my concerns weren't about his writing or storytelling ability.
I just worried that it might be difficult—if not impossible—for him to write a story capable of distinguishing itself amongst the over-saturated world of vampire literature.
These were the thoughts that went through my mind as I prepared to read Lastrapes' two Vampire Shorts, “Adam & Olivia” and “Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter,” which, respectively, will be the first two chapters of his forthcoming novel: The Vampire, the Hunter, and the Girl. I am very happy to report that, upon reading the Vampire Shorts, all of my doubts and fears faded away.
In “Adam & Olivia” and “Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter,” I found the same compelling writing I was so enthusiastic about in Inside the Outside; that intensive style that brings the reader into what's going on in a highly sensorial level. I also found and enjoyed Lastrapes' distinct ability for building and developing characters, which was a strong trait of Inside the Outside.
Between the two shorts, we meet the three main characters: Adam, Olivia, and Jesus. In "Adam & Olivia," we meet a vampire on the prowl and the girl who has no idea she is being hunted; in "Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter," we meet a young man named Jesus, who is one of the few people that not only knows vampires exist, but has dedicated his life to hunting and killing them.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of Lastrapes' Vampire Shorts is they can be regarded as a diptych. Traditionally, a diptych is two different paintings tied to one another to tell a complete story. In this way, I think “Adam & Olivia” and “Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter” are a very interesting experiment in and of themselves.
Their very nature demands a multi-faceted approach from readers. Individually, both stories effectively stand alone, each with an engaging narrative and strong character development. Together, however, these Vampire Shorts conspire to tell an even richer story, which leaves me all the more excited for the publication of the completed novel.