Strigoi: The Blood Bond
Tales of the Strigoi
Ron D. Voigts
Genre: Paranormal, Horror
Publisher: Night Wings Publishing
Number of pages: 231
Word Count: 72,000
Cover Artist: Rachel R. Colon
On the verge of suicide after his wife leaves him, Alex Regal learns he has inherited property located in a small town deep within the mountains. Putting things on hold, he heads to Glade, hoping for something positive in his life. Getting there is easy but leaving proves to be impossible. A spell exists, keeping everyone captive in this hidden place.
The town of Glade is run by a Shapeshifter called the Strigoi. The creature needs to drink human blood to survive. In folklore, taking the form of a man or an animal, the Strigoi became the basis of stories about vampires or werewolves. Now Alex must discover a dark secret before he becomes the vampire's next meal.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/8wo4l7U-Xm4
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For the next hour, I laid in the armchair, trying to sober up while listening for the typical noises of the night. A barking dog. Crickets chirping. Tree frogs croaking. But the air had been devoid of any sound except the ticking of the clock. Then something outside thudded.
I pulled back the drape and peeked out the front window. The dim light of the desk lamp made it difficult to see anything, except my own reflection. I reached for the lamp’s switch, hesitated, and then turned it, plunging the room into darkness.
An impenetrable gloom surrounded me. If I focused for a moment, I could see the outlines of things outside, but the exact shapes remained indiscernible. The silhouette of a tree loomed just to the left. The edge of the fence contrasted against the road. Shrubs dotted the grass along the front walk. But did I really see them or did my imagination put them there? Perhaps the noise I heard earlier was just another trick of the night, or a product of my ability to fill in details.
But something moved. A figure so dark it contrasted even against the shadows of the night. The movement made me think of a cat, but the size would make it a lion or something larger. In an easy bound it leaped, cleared the fence, and landed effortlessly in the yard.
My heart raced. I glanced at the front door to be sure I had pushed the two double bolts in place. The size of the creature outside left little doubt that it could easily crash through the door and get inside.
For a moment, the beast seemed motionless, and I wondered if my imagination had played another trick on me. Tired eyes. A long day. Too much to drink. Perhaps I only thought I saw something, and the outline near the fence was a cluster of bushes.
But then it moved again, stepping slowly toward the side of the house as if taking in the surroundings, surveying the place. The dark form vanished, and I realized it was headed for the backyard.
I bolted for the kitchen. My right leg caught the desk chair and knocked it over. Books lying on the floor flew as I kicked them. I aimed for the dim rectangle that was the doorway to the kitchen. Keeping my hands outstretched, I found the kitchen table and maneuvered around it. I peered out the back door’s window, frightened by what might look back.
I thought of the handgun in the box back home and how I’d almost ended my life with it. I’d put it back, thinking how stupid the idea had been. I’d vowed never to touch it again. Now I wished I had the gun.
When the wolf reached midway between the house and forest’s edge, it paused, turned its head, and stood motionless. I wondered if it saw me through the window pane. Not sure, I stepped back until I was out of sight.
Would it come toward the house? Burst through the door? My heart hammered hard. I felt a bead of sweat trickle down the side of my face. The air felt cold and clammy. When I could no longer wait, I stepped forward and looked outside again.
The creature was gone.
Review: While not what I had expected, based on the title, I really enjoyed this. I expected lots of vampire action. And vampires there are but this has a more Paranormal mystery air through much of the book.
Alex gets a mysterious inheritance letter, taking him the the small, isolated town of Glade. From snake-like attorney, odd silences and strange townsfolk that are outdated, Alex has a lot to figure out. He wanted to just get in, claim his inheritance and get out. But other forces have other plans. Then there is Maggie. She is feisty. I liked her character. Less the jerk of a boyfriend. She ends up in Glade after a nasty car crash. And bears some strange resemblance that sets some of the town on its heals.
What frustrates me the most here is how naive she and especially Alex seem to be. How many hints and situations need to fall in ones lap to get the idea that something is wrong! Although part of that frustration I blame on how the book is written. We are given some other views that prepare us. But still, they were given enough. Then they have to wonder if they even CAN leave.
I love the town. The mixed era's, the characters... Everyone has s part they play here. Some sincere, others.....well lets just say I refused to like other characters just to be safe.
This sort of reminded me of the old gothic mansion mystery novels. With a paranormal twist that put it right up my alley. While the paranormal aspect is subtle through the beginning majority, it does step up as it gets further along. For me the culture mixes, mysterious situations and oddities made this story most enjoyable for me.
What You May Not Know About Strigoi Could Be Dangerous
When researching and creating the background for the book, I tried to draw in as much factual knowledge as possible. But some things came from imagination. Here are some details you may find interesting.
The Strigoi, a shapeshifter, can take on human form or appear as an animal, typically a wolf. I found this most interesting as it ties the vampire and werewolf together into one and same creature. Being able to control the form, it allows him to mimic another person, which can be very useful for the Strigoi. Imagine the fun this little trick could be at parties!
The Strigoi’s bite is more like puncture wounds delivered by a snake. A toxin is administered that prevents coagulation, but also leaves behind the infection. Most Strigoi lap the blood taking only what they need. Others who are greedier may take too much, killing the victim. In the latter case, the Strigoi may mutilate the victim to prevent him from returning from the dead. Or they may be creating a new Strigoi.
The modern, careful Strigoi uses mind control to get blood. The victim is mesmerized into forgetting the encounter and rationalizing away the puncture wounds. The infection is short lived, lasting a few days to a week. The unwilling donor never knows what happens and life goes on. While infected, the victim is immune to disease and aging; only murder or accidental death can kill them.
The exception to the infection duration is a donor who lives in proximity to the Strigoi, in which case the infection can last longer, up to a year. This is the case of the Strigoi’s consort, or in my book how the town’s people survived for centuries.
Once blood has been exchanged, any contracts or agreement with the Strigoi becomes binding and cannot be broken. While it appears that the Strigoi has magical powers, it is their ability to control someone’s mind that is the origin. This is also the reason for reports that they vanished or turned invisible.
An iron stake driven through the Strigoi’s heart immobilizes him, but does not kill. In the book, the living Strigoi who have died are staked through the chest and buried in the church cemetery to prevent them from returning from the dead. The gravestones carry their date of birth, but no date of death. If any of them were dug up and the iron stake removed, they’d become the dead Strigoi, capable of drinking blood.
Daylight robs the Strigoi of his powers but does not kill him, and he cannot use mind control or his immense strength. Neither can he feed. The phenomena is not well understood but may be due to ultraviolet light. In a weakened condition, he can be killed but still must be burned or decapitated; otherwise he’ll return after dark.
The best advice is to look for Strigoi in the daylight. Carry an iron stake. And if you find yourself with small puncture wounds on the neck and can’t recall how it happened, you may have been bitten by a Strigoi.
About the Author:
Originally from the Midwest, Ron D. Voigts now call North Carolina home where he and his wife have a small house off the Neuse River. Ron’s writing credits include the Penelope Mystery Series for middle-grade readers and the dark mystery thriller, Claws of the Griffin. His reading taste is eclectic and depends if the first sentence captures his interest. When not writing and reading, he enjoys watching gritty movies, cooking gourmet food, and playing games on his PC.
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