The Vampire Hunters Stalked by William Hill
Hunters… or hunted?
a review by Alyssa Feller
For what they did to Lucius Shade, Gunstock must suffer…
It’s been a month since Scooter Keyshawn and his friends Russell and Kristie defeated Lucius Shade. But when the trio is forced to seek shelter in the vampire’s old hideout during a Texas storm, the friends are just beginning their new adventures. Struck by lightning while trying to head for safety, Scooter and his friends have noticed strange “powers” appearing in their lives. Scooter has an instinctive connection with his dog, Flash. Russell can mysteriously manipulate electricity. And Kristie has developed a healing touch…literally.
Just when the “Vampire Hunters” (as the town has dubbed them) are just getting used to their powers, strange occurrences once more plague Gunstock. Who is the mysterious man who’s posing as Scooter’s writing mentor? What’s the sinister force behind the Gibbering Darkness idols? What is the deadly Curse of Thirteen? And most importantly, who’s behind it all? After all, the vampire is dead…isn’t he?
Sporting just as many twists, turns, and suspense as the first, The Vampire Hunters Stalked is a noteworthy return to the setting of Gunstock, Texas. Plenty of details are given about Scooter and his developing friendships, including a few closer moments with love-interest Kristie. Despite a few meandering plot moments, the action develops with enough intensity to keep a thread of suspense throughout the whole book. All in all, readers who’ve fallen in love with Hill’s characters in the previous book are sure to be satisfied with the sequel.
William Hill’s new novel, The Vampire Hunters is a great tale to kick off Halloween with. The best thing bout the book, for me, is that it is also a tale abut friendship, growing up and what it means to be a responsible young adult. “Eeeekk!” you say, “I was just looking for a good horror novel!” Well, this book is that as well.
Scooter Keyshawn, looking for acceptance, tries to join the “Graveyard Armadillos”, a group led by Garrett Brashear. His initiation is to try and prove that Marcus Chandler, a retired horror movie maker recently returned to the town, is a vampire.
Needless to say, his initiation doesn’t go well. Soon, to make matters worse, kids begin disappearing from town and turning up dead near Chandler’s ranch. Is Chandler a vampire: Or is there someone…or something…else lurking in the night?
Guess you’ll have to read the story to find out.
The friendship between Russel Knight and Scooter is a genuine one that makes the story warmer. Scooter’s budding romance with Kristie Candel also thickens the plot–you can’t help but cheer for Scooter when he scores points with Kristie.
But who is my favorite character? Flash, the dog. His canine humor and doggy intelligence made me smile over and over again. I’ve never known a dog as smart as Flash, but I’d love to someday.
Mr. Hill’s writing style often reminds me of poetry and his descriptions of people and places are refreshingly liquid (don’t know what I mean? Try another one of his books, The Magic Bicycle.)
from Children’s Literature 2002
“Marcus Chandler is a reclusive film producer who seems to have rare disease that has left him with bleached skin and a heightened sensitivity to light. The Graveyard Armadillos are convinced he is a vampire. Since vampires can’t be photographed, they decide to get a picture of Chandler to make their case. Fifteen -year old Scooter Keyshawn, who wants to prove himself to the Armadillos. agrees to snap the photo. Whether Chandler’s vampirism is real or imagined, there are still plenty of dark forces in Scooter’s small Texas hometown: teens are disappearing and eventually turning up dead. It’s up to Scooter and his friends to clear the innocent and trap the real vampires. The atmospheric writing and the harrowing quest will keep the pages turning, and the simple prose and the emphasis on action rather than character development will make the book a good choice for reluctant readers.”
— The American Library Association’s Booklist
All the elements of a great adventure. Texas teenagers looking for thrills,
a faithful dog, a doofus nice kid who wants to join the gang. But wait! It
gets better. One is the grandson of a judge, another the daughter of a
minister, others the sheriff’s kids. The bad guy? A famous actor/director
having come back home, an African American with white skin and pink eyes
whose parents mysteriously die. The lane toward his ranch is lined with
perfectly good pickup trucks buried nose deep, forming a wall. Is this former
film star a vampire? Out to get fresh blood from kids just out of school for
the summer? What better way to find out than to take a Polaroid and see if
nothing develops. Bumbling efforts to initiate young Scooter into the
Graveyard Armadillos involve that camera, a gun, beer and schnapps. When
Scooter confronts the suspected vampire, his machismo is compromised. The
aspiring comic book writer is asked to help evaluate screen plays.
The author launches readers down Texas back roads, across some quiet lakes,
through harmless teenage fumblings with young love, and toward a different
gang. The mean kind. A short list of thugs who want to take justice into
their own hands, find a strong tree, and have themselves a lynchin’ party.
After all “Debby and Missy were drained of blood. He just partly drained Jo
to disguise the true cause of death, then pushed her down the ravine.” A
delicious mixture of evil and homespun goodness.
—The Book Reader Fall/Winter 1999-2000
Scooter is going to an initiation to become a member of the Graveyard Armadillos gang, and he must meet them at Chandler’s Pickup Ranch. It is owned by a famous Hollywood actor/director, Marcus Chandler. Garreth, leader of the gang, has convinced everyone that Mr. Chandler is a vampire because of his red eyes, white skin (even though he is African-American) and cannot be out during the day because he is an albino and has vitiligo, a skin disorder. Also, two students have been found dead. The whole town begins to believe the vampire theory about Mr. Chandler. Others disappear. Mr. Slade visits Mr. Chandler, he is a vampire and creates all kinds of havoc to persuade Mr. Chandler to make a movie about his life. Through all kinds of terror and many struggles, the vampire is finally destroyed. But the town is so convinced that Mr. Chandler is the vampire that they are ready to kill him until Scooter’s grandpa, a judge, makes them realize their foolishness. The adults are not fully convinced that the kids are telling the truth, but the town gradually returns to normal. Scooter plans to write his comic book about this tale of a vampire and Mr. Chandler. Sara Easter – Fall 1999 – TOP OF TEXAS REVIEWS
Longing to find a niche for himself in the Graveyard Armadillos gang. Scooter Keyshawn agrees to participate in a late-night photo expedition to the home of Marcus Chandler, a movie director who has a pigmentation disease. Mass hysteria has enveloped he community since Chandler moved to his family’s Pick-up Ranch, and kidnappings and deaths have occurred. The leader of the Armadillos believes that Chandler is a vampire and encourages others to follow his belief. Scooter, who wants to become a movie director, realizes that he would much rather get to know Chandler than spy on him. This fast-paced adventure lies somewhere between realistic fiction and science fiction–sometimes the reader has difficulty in determining exactly where one ends and the other begins. Although twists and turns in the plot keep the reader on his toes, they leave him handing at the end–unanswered questions remain and make an opening for a sequel. The book could be a good read for reluctant teens. –Reviewed by J. B. Petty.