You’ll want to read ‘Dracul’ with the lights on

It was just a little scratch.

You wouldn’t have even noticed it, except for the blood — and there was a lot of that. A surprising amount, in fact, for such a small scuff on the side of your wrist, the end of your finger, the top of your thigh, or, as in the new novel, “Dracul” by Dacre Stoker & J.D. Barker, your neck.

He could hear the thing breathing.

It was a raspy sound, half-howl, part-groan, and Bram Stoker was running out of items he could bless to keep the creature from the room where he sat. He watched the door, fearing he would lose the battle before daybreak.

As he waited, Stoker remembered…

He’d been born a sickly child and had been confined to his bed in an attic room for much of his first decade of life. It was a time of famine in Dublin and he might’ve even died were it not for his father’s job, which allowed for care, a decent home, ample food and a governess for the Stoker children.

Nanny Ellen Crone was stern, but loving, and the children adored her though she came and went as she pleased, which vexed Stoker’s mother. As Stoker remembered, Nanny Ellen saved his life during a particularly bad bout with his illness, but he couldn’t exactly recall how she’d done it. Not long after that, and a childishly impulsive chase through a bog (or was it a nightmare?), Ellen disappeared.

Didn’t she? Many years later, Stoker’s sister thought she saw Ellen in Paris . His oldest brother thought he’d seen her in Clontarf. It was her but not her, looking as though she was still a girl.

Ellen would have been middle-aged by then, so how could that be? And why did Stoker still have wounds on his wrist that tormented him when he thought of her and the night she saved his life?

He thought about those things, as a beast or wraith or something scratched at his door.

Before you crack the cover of “Dracul,” make sure you have enough light bulbs. You’re going to want to use them to make your house nice and bright and safe because this may not be the most innovative premise for a novel, but it’s one of the scariest.

Gone from the classic tale is its original sense of distance; here, authors Dacre Stoker (a great-grandnephew of the real Bram) and J.D. Barker put Bram Stoker directly into a tale that dives, neck-first, into horror with hinted end-notes of truth. That’s excellent and it ratchets up the fright-factor, though it’s tempered when we’re asked to believe Stoker as a 7 year old is more intelligent and articulate than any mid-19th century adult might be.

But nevermind. Stay, as this gothic novel with undertones of modernism gently draws you into a snarling sense of doom until you’re fully snared in a lock the doors, turn on the lights scare session. Stay, as you’ll race read to get past the goosebumpiest fright, heart galloping, hoping that the locks hold.

Stay, as “Dracul” leaves you scratching for air.

More in Life

Matt Kidd. Submitted photo
True strength has no limits

Covington resident Matt Kidd shares his story about kidney disease to help others during National Kidney Month.

Spring color is on display

The fourth week of March is a time of explosive growth in… Continue reading

Moyaak Chuol, senior at Lindbergh High School, holds up his first place trophy with teacher Creed Nelson on Feb. 23. Chuol starts a job at Boeing after graduation. Courtesy of Creed Nelson.
Lindbergh senior wins competition, snags job

Moyaak Chuol won an aerospace manufacturing competition against more than 50 other high school students

Youth leaders reclaim ‘lost urban creeks’ in Renton

As a culmination of the first year of a paid internship project,… Continue reading

Pull or smother shot weeds to save time

The second week of March is time to fertilize the lawn, plant… Continue reading

Seahawk KJ Wright surprises students

Wright visited St. Anthony’s School in downtown Renton Monday, March 4.

Renton Rotary selects Youth of the Month for March

The award is given to students who have leadership abilities, maintain a good GPA and volunteer in the community.

Local artists add flair to fire hydrants

South Renton Connection is adding some flair to its neighborhood in unsuspecting… Continue reading

Renton Rotary selects Teachers of the Month for February

Kim Browne, Sara Jerger and Donelle Tyler were selected as teachers of the month.

The art of writing

The process of writing is a mystery to most people. People dream… Continue reading

Now is the time to venture outside, start planting

The end of February is time to dig in and get planting.… Continue reading