Egan, D. (1998). The sweet of bitter bark and burning clove. In E. Datlow & T. Windling (Eds.), Sirens and other daemon lovers (pp. 163-193). New York: HarperPrism.
Bailey is a private investigator with a good heart, though he solves cases both legal and otherwise. He helps to solve a case for a gorgeous stranger, who turns out to be a Jewish vampiress named Lilith. They have a sporadic relationship, 6 weeks together and then months or years apart so Bailey doesn’t die. A case takes him to San Cristobel where he sees Lilith again after more than 10 months apart. While he is working on solving his case, he accidentally gives his suspect a glimpse of his license plate, and the man follows him home. Threatening Bailey with a gun arouses Lilith’s protective instincts, and she hypnotizes, torments and kills the man after extracting the information Bailey seeks. Though he is wounded, he survives the encounter and looks forward to the next few glorious weeks with Lilith.
Though it is never made explicit whether Lilith is the Lilith of Jewish lore, she is described as Jewish with pale skin and long red gold hair. She is strong and ruthless, an excellent predator, but she can also be very kind and cares very deeply for Bailey, which differentiates her from the semen-stealing home-wrecking demon of myth and legend. Part hardboiled Private Eye pulp, part vampire tale, this story has both sexy and poignant moments, and is highly recommended for adults.
If you like tales about Lilith, try:
If you like hardboiled vampire detectives, try:
Graham, H. (1991). The vampire in his closet. In B. Preiss, D. Keller & M. Miller (Eds.), The ultimate Dracula (pp. 90-106). New York: Dell.
Chris Lambden has always been fascinated by vampires, and he is a successful writer of vampiric tales. He buys an old castle in New Orleans and moves there with his sulky, selfish, attractive wife, Magda. The Cross of Damocles in hand, he uncovers and awakens the vampire walled up in the basement to ask him questions for use in his stories. Unfortunately the vampire betrays him by seducing and turning his wife, so Chris is able to give him three commands. The vampire must never drink from humans, he must take Magda away with him, and he must give over his human consort Deanna, a lovely young lady kept in stasis for many years in the coffin. Love’s first tender feelings begin to grow between them, and Chris decides he will only write Westerns from now on.
Chris is a clever man with an awful wife, and he uses his wits to get exactly what he wants.
For more tales of Louisiana vampires sans Lestat, try:
Hill, D. (2006). The touch. In A.C. Allen (Ed.), Dark thirst (pp. 201-251). New York: Pocket Books.
Selena LeBeau is a vampiress who runs The Touch, a discreet massage parlor for a few clients who are also her lovers. Normally, massage and sexual release help to satisfy her bloodlust, but she is increasingly unable to avoid taking lives. Centuries ago, she was seduced by a mysterious ebony-skinned man, and lost both her virginity and her life on her 17th birthday. She decides she needs a vacation, hoping it will clear her mind and help her stop killing, but as a luxury hotel masseuse, she kills 5-6 men and women per night and the police get involved. Leaving St. Thomas, she travels the globe, an insatiable hunger overtaking her, until she meets Lucien, the man who seduced her so long ago, and he helps her to find her true love Vincent.
Selena is a very promiscuous vampire with an uncontrollable thirst for blood. She blithely, and regretfully, kills so many to sate a bottomless hunger. This story’s subtext almost comes across as an allegory about sex addiction, her cravings unending until she finds her true love. She is not the easiest vampiric character to like, with her wanton and prolific killing overshadowing any better qualities. However, if you are interested in black and ethnic minority vampire fiction of an erotic nature, Dark Thirst neatly fits the bill. Recommended for adults only.
If you like multi-ethnic erotica with vampires that aren’t of the Caucasian persuasion, try:
Holder, N. (1997). Blood freak. In S. Jones (Ed.), The mammoth book of Dracula: Vampire tales for the new millennium (pp. 62-72). New York: Carroll & Graf.
Vlad Dracula, aka Captain Blood, has hung out with Beats and hippies, amused but not entranced by their antics. He has a castle in the desert that they flock to, but none deserve the dark gift. Timothy Leary and his wife come to visit, and Tim begins to coax his followers away. Leary wants to be turned, but Dracula cannot trust him enough to grant him such power; however, Leary doses Dracula secretly with LSD in wine and bites him. Betrayed, Dracula flies into a rage, but Leary has changed already. The FBI come to take him back to jail, but both of the Learys escape. Years later, Tim Leary is decapitated (by choice or is it by Vlad’s design?) and his wife becomes one of Dracula’s brides.
A Beatnik stroll through the vampire myth of the modern day, it is unlike any other vampire tale with its 1960s counter-culture setting.
If you want more undead cultural icons, try:
Venne, M. (2008). Elvis Presley and the bloodsucker blues. In K. J. Anderson (Ed.), The Horror Writers Association presents Blood lite: An anthology of humorous horror stories (pp. 87-113). New York: Pocket Books.
Hussey, L. A. (1991). Blood libel. In Yolen, J., & Greenberg, M. H., (Eds.) Vampires: A collection of original stories (pp. 157-186). New York: Harper Trophy.
Adam, a devout young Jewish man, is accosted by a vampire and turned against his will. Breaking free of his grave, Adam does not realize he is dead at first, until he consumes raw animal flesh, is harmed by the sun and sees all in his family and community turn from him in fear. The other vampire is staked and killed by the townsfolk, and Adam switches clothes so his family will believe he is truly dead. He wanders a long time, drawn to seek out humans but desperately trying to avoid harming them. A surging hunger for blood leads him to a town where a kindly and wise rabbi takes him in and convinces people to not only accept the vampire, but to willingly give him a little blood each day. The rabbi then renames him Damish, and Damish settles into his new life taking care of the temple at night and speaking philosophy with the men. Martin Beck, a Christian, bears a grudge against the Jews and kidnaps children in order to accuse Jews of stealing their blood for making matzo–a blood libel. Damish thwarts Martin’s plots and protects his people. His work done, he sinks into a torpor and does not awaken for many years until he saves the holy books from being burned by the Nazis.
Damish, known as Adam while alive, is basically a good man, dedicated to his family and his faith. That faith happens to be Judaism, a religion that tends to be in the minority when working with Western vampiric tales. Like the legend of the golem, Damish helped the Jews and when his task was done, he lay in stasis until his people needed aid again. The story also incorporates the very real accusation of blood libel, a very serious charge of child sacrifice that Christians in Europe would use to stir up anti-Semitic sentiment. Such accusations could lead to violence or murder that might extend to more than just the accused. This story is a wonderful window into Jewish history and culture and would make a creative addition to Jewish YA literature reading lists.
If you want more YA-accessible stories about blood libel, try: