Saturday, December 26, 2015

Death-School by J.N. Williamson

(pb; 1982: third book in the Lamia Zacharius quadrilogy)

From the back cover:

"Tonight, under the full moon, her shadow emerges from the black pits of hell. . . her icy breath cuts the night like a deadly blade. . . her fiery eyes pierce the darkness hunting for prey and fresh human blood.

"Tonight, she returns to the small, quiet town of Thessaly, which has been rebuilt from the bones and burning ashes of the dead. The new inhabitants have no idea of the horrifying evil that lurks in their midst, that their beautiful, young neighbor, the new schoolteacher, is Lamia Zacharius, Queen of the Vampires.

"Tonight, the children of Thessaly are snug in their beds. Tomorrow they enter the death-school."


Caveat: possible (minor) spoilers in this review if you have not read the first Lamia Zacharius novel, Death-Coach.

Nicole Michaels, cousin of  Mary Graham, moves into the house that Mary and her children left behind at the end of Death-Coach -- Nicole and her daughter (Lisa) are trying to escape from Nicole's abusive husband (Darrell), and Mary, thinking Thessaly deserted after the events of the first book, gives her cousin and niece a place to hide.

Thing is, Thessaly is not deserted. Lamia, now going by the name Miss Z, has been bringing  people to the town with offers of low-cost living and accessibility to nearby Indianapolis. And Lamia, dark and vampiric anti-heroine of the human race, has ambitious plans for these clueless people -- plans to educate and reform them in the old, timeless ways only she is familiar with.

Death-School is an almost-solid, drawn-out entry in the Lamia Zacharius series. As always, there is plenty of sex, blood and Greek-based philosophical horror, with constant underpinnings of B-movie quirkiness and humor, so it is not a boring read: it is an uneven offering that would benefit from either being trimmed to novella length, or combining key elements of its storyline with those of the next novel, Death-Doctor.

 is worth owning* for those readers -- like myself -- who are curious to finish the quadrilogy, and cannot borrow these sometimes hard-to-find books from their local library.

[*If purchased at a cheap price]

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