In VAMPIRES by John Steakley, the inspiration for the film of the same name by John Carpenter with James Woods in the role of Jack Crow, a crack team of vampire slayers hunts down and destroys vampires. After Jack’s team is slaughtered, he retrenches with a new recruit from the Vatican and a gunslinger who’s dead accurate with silver bullets. The vampires won’t go down easy, however; they have their own hit list, and intend to finish the job they started by wiping out Jack’s entire team.
The vampires are deadly, powerful and cunning. They can rip a grown man apart in seconds. The job of vampire slaying is not portrayed romantically–just the opposite, it’s shown as the scariest and most dangerous job ever, with a very short average life expectancy, and a devastating psychological toll that drives its members to drink to oblivion whenever they’re not working. The members of the team, the gunslinger in particular, have a very real, searing, horrifying fear of death, and this fear informs how they fight the vampires. These fears and feelings make the characters endearing and, even if their emotions come pouring out of them like a geyser half the time, real as well.
It’s a fantastic book, a must read classic in the horror genre. Highly recommended to horror readers.