Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review & Interview: WANTED UNDEAD or ALIVE

Wanted Undead or Alive: Vampire Hunters and Other Kick-Ass Enemies of EvilVAMPIRE HUNTERS AND OTHER KICK-ASS ENEMIES OF EVIL
By: Jonathan Maberry & Janice Gable Bashman
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: Citadel Press
Genre: Paranormal/Horror Reference

The Book (taken from the Publishers web site):
Discover the nature of Evil… and how to kick its butt!
These days you can’t swing an undead lycanthrope without hitting a Minion of Evil. They’re everywhere—TV, film, the basement…right behind you! It’s never been more important to know what you can do to keep them at bay. Garlic? silver bullets? holy water? torch-wielding mob?
From today’s foremost experts on nightmares-come-to-life, this indispensible guide identifies and describes mankind’s enemies—supernatural beasts, ghosts, vampires, serial killers, etc.—and unearths effective time-proven responses to each horrific threat.
  • Separate fact from fiction, the deadly from the merely creepy.
  • Learn when to stand your ground and when to run screaming for your life.
  • Determine which monster-specific heroes to call and their likelihood of success.
  • Consider your own potential as a Champion for Good, Conqueror of the Damned.
Whether we’re talking ancient vampire hunters or modern-day FBI profilers, it’s good to know someone’s got your back in the eternal struggle between Good and Evil. And this book, with over fifty illustrations, as well as commentary from luminaries like filmmaker John Carpenter, author Peter Straub, and the legendary Stan Lee, provides all the information and reassurance you need to sleep soundly at night. Just not too soundly.

With 8 pages of color art

My review: I honestly had a pack of sticky notes sitting by me as I read this book. The whole book is now filled with those sticky notes. I used as least 1/2 the pad. I had to mark my favorites parts. This books had great details. There was a lot of work that went into the research of this book. I have never come across a book with such an expanse of horror legends, lores, myths, superstitions and facts. Some made me laugh, shudder, look over my shoulder, say "A HA" and cringe. This book has it all. There is a little bit for everyone. I loved the pictures through out the book (even though some of them made me cringe and may not be appropriate for the eyes of my children). I learned a lot of back stories from this book. My husband has some sort of fascination of serial killers and I was able to share some serial killer detials with him from this book without him giving me that blank "why are you talking to me" look that he usually gives me when I try to tell him about a book I am reading. That says a lot right there!

Some of my sticky note worthy pages:

Page 26  "So...why the great love affair with the bad guys"  " ' The reason we bond so much with the movie that we secretly want that kind of freedom, to be able to break all the rules' ".  I ALWAYS end up siding with the bad guy/girl! Never fails!

Page 43
  • burying a corpse upside-down so that it faced hell rather than heaven. (Very likely this came about when it was generally viewed that the world was flat and that heaven and hell were physical places. Otherwise, we'd have vampires tunneling thorugh the earth to the other side. Jules Verne could have had fun with that). 
There really are many more but I will let you decide which ones are "sticky note" worthy!

Author Interview with Jonathan & Janice: 

BCM: What is your favorite of all the lores you researched?

  • JGB: The Benandanti is my favorite. The lore states that the Benandanti were a race of werewolves who fought against evil. Unlike most of the werewolves we encounter in pop culture, the Benandanti were the good guys. These strong and powerful creatures with the ability to shapeshift were loyal and intelligent and only killed if absolutely necessary as a means of defense. I’m using the Benandanti lore with a modern twist in the young adult novel I’m writing now.

  • JM: I love the Stregoni Benefici, the vampire legends from the Catholic church of the middle ages. The Stregoni Benefici were vampires who were captured by monks and ‘encouraged’ to accept God. Okay, that meant that they were tortured, but once they had accepted Jesus, thereafter the church used them as supernatural assassins, directed them at heretics and infidels. Weird, creepy and part of actual church history. I liked the idea so much that I’m writing a novel about it. It’ll be the fourth in my series of adventures featuring action hero Joe Ledger.
BCM: Do you expect future writers to use your book as a reference for their stories?

  • JGB: We’ve already heard from a bunch of writers that they’re using the book as a reference tool. However, WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE is great for anyone interested in the subject matter. We examine good vs. evil in pop culture and real life and cover a wide range of topics from the supernatural (vampires, werewolves, etc.) to heroes (real life, legendary, mythological) to ghosts/ghost Hunters to FBI profilers/serial killers to pulp fiction, and more.

  • JM: Sure. This is the fifth of five books that are intended to be useful to anyone doing research. They should give writers a lot of guidance when building new twists on old horror paradigms.

BCM: Are you a fan of the lore you research? Does any of it ever get to you, creep you out, haunt you?

  • JGB: The lore is fascinating—it’s full of rich and wonderful stories, so no it doesn’t creep me out. However, if I were to actually encounter some of the monsters and scarier individuals from ancient lore, I’m sure I’d be frightened.

  • JM: The supernatural never creeps me out. I grew up around it, learning all about the larger world from my grandmother, who was quite a believer. I was learning how to read tarot cards when I was eight years old. What creeps me out is the real world. Politics and the lack of ethics in some aspects of science. That’s why my horror novels and thrillers, like PATIENT ZERO and THE KING OF PLAGUES, have strong political and scientific story elements.
BCM: Describe your book in 5 words.

  • JGB: A fun read, informative, surprising
  • JM: The guide to good vs. evil.

BCM: What made you decide to write a horror reference book?
  • JM: That’s my grandmother’s influence. I knew about the occult and paranormal from early childhood. So, after doing a bunch of books on other subjects earlier in my career, I decided to collect and expand upon what my grandmother taught me. It’s endlessly fascinating.


  • JGB: One of my favorites is the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein because he’s a sympathetic character. He has both monster and human qualities in him. He’s not pure good or evil, but a mixture of both. He is an ugly and looming creature who only wants someone to love him, but he doesn’t know how to find that love. In the quest to do so, he murders, which leaves him distraught and ultimately sends him into the darkness where he goes to die.

  • JM: Abraham Van Helsing, but not so much the version in the novel, Dracula, but the way Peter Cushing portrayed him in the Hammer films. Cushing made him smart, athletic, energetic, inventive and heroic.

My Rating:

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