Most families have the odd skeleton in the closet; closets in the Radleys household seem to be more likely to be filled with pale corpses.
I will confess, I have not read any of the vampire chronicles that currently fill the nation's bookshops, nor have I been drawn to the profusion of vampiric sagas shown around the clock on satellite and cable channels. In part this is due to the fact I am no longer an angst ridden teenager and I am not, indeed am unlikely ever to be, a middle aged woman who fills her house with cats, incense and ethnic art. Any book including one or more of the following words: Dark, Moon, Red, Blood, Twilight in its title is unlikely to find its way onto my bookshelf (I am more likely to break my knees with a claw hammer). The Radleys however promised a different perspective and to a larger part it delivers.
The Radleys: the parents are abstaining from their proclivities through choice, the children abstaining because they don't know they're vampires, merely that they have some odd allergies and need to wear sunblock at all times of the year. Inevitably it all goes a bit pear shaped, the daughter is a bit low on haemoglobin having recently turned vegan, she has a confrontation and erm...'sees red' literally and figuratively. As you would expect, having a confrontation with a vampire is typically short lived and terminal, as it proves in this case. Cue some angst, self discovery, rejection and acceptance. Unable to cope with this episode in his otherwise all too dull suburban life, the father calls on his brother for assistance - his brother has something of a reputation and a lot of `history' - cue some more twists. Now, none of these twists are truly revelatory, they are all reasonably signposted; however, this doesn't really matter to the reader. The joy of this story is seeing where it is all going and tagging along for the ride. There are a few areas of the book that could have been explored further, as well as a couple of relationships and areas of the book that didn't seem to add all that much except to paint an image of middle class suburb (for me, the book club in particular didn't really add anything to the narrative). However, the Radleys is an intelligently written book that would bear a second reading. It maintains a good pace throughout, and I will read another of Haig's books on the strength of this outing. So, all in all a fun read and no claw hammers required.