Stoker’s Manuscript is an interesting first novel. Royce Prouty goes for more of the classical vampire with a gothic feel. It doesn’t get more classical than the son of Dracula.
Prouty does a good job of creating a gothic feel to the novel. The mood feels dark and foreboding. The landscape itself is menacing. The problem is that in creating the atmosphere, the book sacrifices pacing. The first half of the novel moves very slowly. Even the violent scenes, and some are quite violent, are written so low-key that they do not inspire a great deal of horror. The characters are well-written and interesting, but none of them are terribly charismatic. The second half of the novel moves along more quickly and comes to a satisfying conclusion.
The plot itself is quite interesting. A mystery surrounding the original manuscript of Dracula that may hold clues to the location of bodies the family of Dracula would very much like found. The clues themselves are quite clever, although the intuitive leaps to decipher them come a little bit too easily.
Prouty is a good writer and the novel itself is well-written. I look forward to seeing where he goes next. If you are looking for an atmospheric thriller with a gothic feel that builds slowly to its conclusion, you’ll enjoy Stoker’s Manuscript. 3.5 stars.
I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.