J. Gordon Melton,
The Vampire Book:
The Encyclopedia of the Undead

(Visible Ink, 1999)

The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead is one of my favorite books. I use it extensively for quickly finding facts for my horror writing and often grab it for pleasure reading. It is a large, heavy book and contains 919 pages. This book will make you appreciate having a book holder!

If it relates to vampires, this book covers it. You will find folklore from around the world, scientific facts and all the specifics of movies and stars that have featured vampires. These topics are amazing and range from "homosexuality and the vampire" to "blood in the biblical sense." This is the most thorough reference book on vampires I have found.

The topics are listed alphabetically and logically cross-referenced, making it super easy to find what you are seeking. Some of the listings are brief, others lengthy. The listing for "Romania, Vampires in" covers several pages and discusses all aspects of the vampire in that country. It includes the most commonly found folk tale, "The Girl and the Vampire," about a couple that carried on their sexual liaison after the boy died and returned as a vampire. There are frequent photographs, drawings and copies of posters scattered throughout the text. An added bonus is a full-color photograph section in the center.

You will information on the major and minor cults and publications, including contact information for the primary individuals. There has been a renewed interest in vampires since the early the 1980s that has led to many new groups and publications springing up throughout the United States.

Whether you need information about the Hindu vampiric deity, Yama, or just want to learn more about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this is the reference book to use first. The listings provide suggested readings that allow you to do detailed research into any issue. If you want a great book to read, get this one and plan to spend several days reading it. You will likely spend a few sleepless nights also.

The only bad point to this book is a problem with the sheer weight of the pages causing the spine to crack and the pages to pop loose. I have put mine to hard use and have not had any of the pages fall completely out of the book, but many are loose and will likely begin to fall out with continued use. I have several other books that were published by Visible Ink Press (a few reviewed here) and have used all of them frequently. I can vouch for the quality of their products and will definitely purchase more of their books in the future. This book is well worth the price.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 21 June 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.