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4.3 out of 5 stars33
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 2 December 2012
In this, the third in the Anno Dracula series, Newman sets his ambitious story in 1950s Rome. This is an original and ingenious idea. Dracula Cha Cha Cha can explore a brand new world: the world of 1950s continental glamour and paparazzi, of movie makers and stars, of big parties and decadence.

I don't think this would have been as effective had Newman took the more obvious era of the Second World War as his setting. He has "done" the whole war thing from a vampire perspective in The Bloody Red Baron, so if he did it here as well, it could have become a simple retread. Thankfully this is a bold gamble which pays off.

The novel is populated by characters you could find in Federico Fellini, Maro Bava and Dario Argento films, and oozes atmosphere and class. From its intriguing opening flight into Rome, to its trip through the chaotic streets of the cosmopolitan city, this third entry holds you in an iron grip and never lets go.

I am a big Ian Fleming fan, so it was a delight to see a vampire secret agent with the surname Bond involved in the proceedings! Newman has really done his research again, he even remembers the special brand of cigarette Fleming's famous creation smokes. It is small attention to details like this which make reading any Newman novel such a joy. Not only can you enjoy being swept up in all the action, you can also spend hours doing follow up reading or viewing yourself.

Like the others, this is packed with movie and novel references, as well as nods to history. Newman has expertly and lovingly crafted his own alternate vampire universe, and I thoroughly enjoy it every time I visit it.

This will hold up to repeated readings and guarantees Newman's place as one of the most influential writers of horror in the world today.

What more could you ask for? Dracula meets the Giallo murder mystery and Bond! There is even a 1968 set novella Aquarius as an added bonus.

This will chill and amuse the reader, transporting you to a bygone era of cinema and culture. Unmissable.
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on 29 January 2013
It's 1959 and we are in Rome as Dracula is trying for a new respectability by marrying nobility. Between books he helped in the war effort against Hitler and feelings amongst the politicians in England may be mellowing. He's even invited Genevieve and Charles Beauregard to the celebrations, which seems broadminded given they tried to kill him in the past.
Genevieve, Kate Reed and the very elderly Charles believe it will be disastrous if Dracula is accepted again and as if this were not enough, The Crimson Avenger is a killer dispatching elders (vampires who have lived a long time). Will the Undead British Secret agent Hamish Bond be a help or a hindrance and who is the legendary Mother of tears?
The story is well written and paced and there is no shortage of celebrity cameos of famous vampires (Count Von Kroloch from "Dance of the Vampires" for one) and of other well known figures too-watch out for an undead Tony Hancock!
Hamish Bond is clearly a pastiche of 007 himself which Ian Fleming Publications have been sporting enough to accept as a warm tribute & not make trouble over. Hamish has a few of the famous traits of the literary Bond e.g. South Sea Island Cotton shirts & great love of the finer things.

The ending will make you anxious to see where the series will go with Johnny Alucard.

There is a novella which is set in the swinging sixties as Kate Reed investigates a killer who it is beleived is deliberately making deaths look like vampires did it. Much of her invesigation is on a college campus. This is more than readable but not up to the standard of other Anno tales, that's why I knocked a point off. A little better and the book would have got 5 stars.

If you enjoyed the previous 2 books, it's a must!
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on 18 May 2000
Imagine a world where vampires can wander out in daylight, where they are co-existing side by side with warm blooded humans and where being a vampire doesn't necessarily make you evil. Welcome to the fantastic world of Kim Newman. If all you know about vampires is what you've seen on "Buffy", then here is a wonderful creation that combines a huge range of information from vampire myth, movie and stories.
But even better is Newman's twisted use of people from fact, fantasy and fiction from across the board. Here we've got a 007 who has been boosted by vampire blood, so it's a bloody mary(perhaps) shaken not stirred. A human user called Tom Ripley, who'll take advantage of anyone human or vampire. And a myriad of other figures from every genre you can remeber and some you can't.
If you don't like horror this is the book for you, because it looks at a world where vampires may drink blood, but have just as many problems as the rest of us (in this case a serial killer who can take them down, as well as dealing with the death of a loved one, growing older, growing up.) This is wonderfully written, exceptionally humane horror/fantasy and one of the most inventive books of the year.
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on 3 May 2015
Oh dear. While I loved the first of Kim Newmans Anno Dracula books. I feel we have gone steadily downhill and are not caught in a mishmash of ideas and unfinished plots. The start is excellent, set in Rome, well described and Dracula is once again set to marry. Poor Charles is terminally ill and will not 'turn'. Then Dracula and several elders are murdered and it all gets a tad ridiculous. We have the usual cast of fictional and real characters and a bizarre showdown in the colosseum. Then off to London and apparently a totally different book with Kate Reed hunting vampire killers. Where has Genivieve and Oenelipe gone and why are we suddenly in what feelsclikecan abandoned script for the Sweeney. Quite bizarre. I doubt I will bother with the next book
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on 29 March 2016
With Dracula Cha Cha Cha, Kim Newman has brought his tale of a world where vampires and humans have a shared existence up to 1959 in Rome. His take on La Dolce Vita is filled with references to characters both fictional and from real life and it is clear he was having great fun when writing this.

Whilst the book is a relatively light hearted affair, one storyline most certainly isn’t. We are reintroduced to the characters of Genevieve Dieudonné and Charles Beauregard but it’s bitter sweet as Charles is now 105 years old and is coming to the end of his life. Genevieve, being immortal, has to come to terms with his imminent death and it’s in this story that we see Kim Newman’s writing at its most tender with Genevieve’s pain, as she tenderly cares for her soulmate, really plucking at the readers heart whilst Charles dignified acceptance of his own mortality is both life affirming and heart warming.

The book opens with the arrival in Rome of Kate Reed, a regular from the previous two books, and a starlet called Malenka with her vampire sugar daddy. Malenka has all the attributes of Anita Ekberg but with fangs, whilst her sugar daddy comes across as somewhere between Vincent Price and some old European prince who has yet to inherit his throne. they arrive in Rome to the pop of flashbulbs and questions being thrown at them like the reporters lives depended on it. What follows is a cavalcade through the streets of the city as the paparazzi chase after the starlet and her benefactor for the best (and cheapest) shot. The whole circus ends in a bloody attack at the Trevi fountain that places Kate in the spotlight both with the police and the press. This sets the scene for a story which touches on both mythical and modern Rome. We find ourselves coming across characters from that era that Kim Newman has pulled from both fact and fiction. When you have both John Profumo and Charles De Gaulle attending a meeting with Dracula’s representative in a Roman castle you know this book is going to be a little different. In fact half the fun of this book is picking out the characters and pop culture references that Kim Newman has subverted in this world he has created. It could have been contrived and none-to-subtle but the author has done it in a way that sees the people and situations seem quite normal. Not an unimpressive feet when he uses characters such as Father Merrin from the Exorcist and Marcello from La Dolce Vita in the same scene.

This story was both surprising and satisfying and I felt it was a lot stronger than the previous book, The Bloody Red Baron, which seemed to lack a strong enough narrative to push the story along. The story hear moves along at a cracking pace and is full of twists and turns which the reader will not see coming. One in particular was a real shocker.

As with the Bloody Red Baron, Kim Newman has added a novella at the end of the book which takes the story on a few years. In this case it’s called Aquarius and sees Kate Reed having to solve a murder in South East London in 1968. The case revolves around the killing of two girls who are found to be exsanguinated with two teeth marks in their necks. Something that hasn’t happened in over twenty years in England. This causes a lot of political and social upheaval pitting pro and anti vampire camps against each other. The story has Kate following the trail to a student cult who follow a professor who turns out to be Caleb Croft, a vampire who was at the heart of the terror in the first book and with whom Kate has a lot of previous history.

Again, Kim Newman has great fun bringing in characters from the popular culture of the day (a wolf-like Jack Regan anybody?) and the story was hugely enjoyable to read. This was less of an afterthought and more of a carefully crafted addition to the book which opens up the world of Anno Dracula that little bit more.

This book is very enjoyable and for that reason I’ve given it 5 stars.
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on 3 November 2013
Third book in the Anno Dracula series, and this time Newman takes his vampire heroines to Rome, 1959, to attend the wedding of the greatest vampire. Newman practically invented metatextual fiction, in which characters and images from other things are woven through new novels (Alan Moore gets the credit for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but Anno Dracula was there first). Here he pushes that almost to the point of exhaustion, with a myriad cameo appearances infecting the plot. Some are delightful and others meaningless. While James Bond, Orson Welles, and Tom Ripley each find places in the action, there are a lot of superfluous faces coming and going. I enjoyed it, but it was almost too much. The plot itself blends genres, wrapping a giallo murder mystery around the tent poles of Dracula's marriage and the death of one of the mainstay characters of the series so far, and a very entertaining romp it is too. As an extravagant bonus, the book contains a second shorter novel - Aquarius - set in London a decade later, as revolution infects the populous. This piece is a little more restrained with its name-dropping, and is perhaps the more tightly orchestrated of the two stories. I had no idea it was included, so it came as a splendid surprise.
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on 9 March 2013
Good story telling and amusing use of characters e.g. James Bond as a vampire. First story in effect ends but doesn't end. Then part two is in London with only one of the main characters. The two stories don't really correalate either. Quite random as to why it was written this way and not as a separate book. I will be trying the authors earlier book, as I did in the main enjoy the story.
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on 12 June 2011
and it is a good vampire book too. However the Bond angle is just dandy. Brief, sober, suave as if the master has written it himself. A beauty. Anno Dracula is excellent but almost overdone. Dracula Cha Cha Cha is not - it is just a good story perfectly narrated.
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on 17 June 2000
Bloody brilliant! Kim Newman has to be one of the best writers in the UK today, he writes so effortlessly, with wit, style and immagination. DRACULA CHA CHA CHA is a wonderful confection of horror, dark humour and real pathos, He manages to take other people's characters like the vampire Bond and take them beyond the framework of the original writer's work, but doesn't really change them, just makes them fit his wonderful world. A really fun read.
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VINE VOICEon 2 December 2007
The great Alan Moore isn't the first writer to have come up with the idea of recycling old pulp literary figures in new works (as Kim Newman somewhat grumpily pointed out in a brief afterword to Seven Stars). Here Newman continues the vampire cycle started in Anno Dracula with his second sequel. I have to start by saying that I'm a Kim Newman fan, and I'd love to have given this mostly excellent novel 5 stars... unfortunately whilst 95% of this novel is as marvellous as you'd expect from a writer of his calibre, it suffers from the same flaw as his The Bloody Red Baron: the ending is frankly a bit of a damp squib. The prose is outstanding, the characterizations are outstanding, the concept is outstanding... but it's almost as if once he's decided on the setting of the novel the plot itself comes as something of an afterthought and consequently ends up building up to, well, not that much. This was frustrating - but just about forgiveable - in The Bloody Red Baron if you viewed it as an allegory on the waste of life in WW1, but here it's just frustrating.

Having said all this I'm still glad that I read this novel, and not just for the very brief but hilarious appearance of one Anthony Allosius Hancock as an embittered vampire artist (stolen straight from Hancocks film The Rebel)! However Anno Dracula still easily remains Newman's best vampire novel by far, so if you've never read Kim Newman, Anno Dracula is the one novel of his that you MUST read.
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