A Stake in Murder




Captain Darren Matheson, of the L.A.P.D. Homicide Division was a pleasant enough fellow.  But when the FBI uses him to track down news reporter Sebastian Hemlock as a “special investigator” he understandably is curious.  Hemlock, learning that he had failed with his original killing of an undead creature, seeks a chance to redeem his integrity as well as gaining back the woman he had once loved.  Captain Matheson thought the whole case as nothing but a waste of time.  He had a murderer to catch!
Sebastian Hemlock had once been a respected news reporter.  “Mister News” is what they used to call him.  If there was a story to be found out, he usually was the one who uncovered it.  That was until Phoenix, Arizona.
In 1991 the police were working on a series of murders.  The victims were all drained of blood, the officials were not talking, and Hemlock soon discovered why.  The killer was a vampire!  With only his FBI friend to assist, the reporter went ahead, investigated, and tracked down the killer to destroy it.
Hemlock was soon betrayed!
After the vampire was laid to rest, Hemlock was shamed, fired, and couldn’t get a job anywhere.  His best friend turned on him, his girl left, and he was reduced to a tabloid job in Kansas City, Missouri.
Now…the vampire has returned!
We tell our children that there are no such things as monsters.  We comfort them with the knowledge that we will always be there to protect them.  What happens when we are proven wrong?




A New Vampire Threat September 13, 2014

This is a good story, made more interesting because it includes a different kind of vampire, thus immediately taking this out of the run-of-the-mill nosferatu variety. It’s refreshing to have it brought to the reading public’s attention that vampires exist outside of Transylvania.

It’s an exciting, slightly gory tale, not quite up to Stephen King-standards of grisly horror but getting there with a drama all its own. The descriptions of the vampire’s depredations are definitely vivid and strikingly graphic…

…All in all, A Stake in Murder will keep you turning the pages and ease you toward a nightmare or two. — Amazon.com


This was, to put it bluntly, one heck of a lot of fun. Kirch puts a bit of an Eastern spin on his vampires, incorporating some of the darkest elements of the Aswang from Filipino folklore, but keeping them largely recognizable as Dracula’s descendants. I particularly liked the elongated feeding tongue, which he puts to insanely effective use in a scene involving the oral violation of a pregnant woman and the consumption of the triplets inside of her. Yes, that picture of visceral horror forming in the back of your head is spot-on!

Perhaps one of the most effective, most memorable aspects of the novel, however, has nothing to do with the monsters. Kirch displays a fantastic talent for creating and defining unique characters who immediately either endear themselves or creep right under your skin. At first I thought he was laying it on a little thick with both Captain Matheson and Sebastian Hemlock, but there was a distinct moment when both characters clicked for me, becoming the kind of protagonists you desperately want to follow through to the end of their story.

The actual police procedural element is strong, and ties in nicely with the monster chase, a formula that will be immediately recognizable to fans of Grimm. Behind that is a nice layering of back stories, involving the origins of our vampire, and his first encounter with Hemlock. By the time all the elements come together in the bloodcurdling climax, you’ll find yourself with just as much A Stake In Murder as Matheson, Hemlock, and their colleagues. Great, visceral, classic horror with just a bit of a folklore twist. 
Beauty in the Ruins Fiction Review


“…This is a book that is very, very gory.  At times, it made me cringe.  As I stated before, this is make believe and scarier than this book is the reality of what we face every day, children killing children, war, drugs and the list goes on.  If you have a weak stomach, I suggest you stay away from this book.  If you like being scared by things that go bump in the night, this is the book for you.  The author’s descriptions of how Anton eats are something you should not read right after you eat or before you eat.”
— Paranormal Romance Guild



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