Written by historian Mark Jenkins, Vampire Forensics: Uncovering the Origins of an Enduring Legend, is an insightful non-fiction novel that explores the vast history of vampires. In the book, legend and lore are examined through the lens of history, archaeology, anthropology, and forensic science.
I have been studying vampires personally and professionally for more years I care to count and have read virtually every non-fiction vampire text I could get my hands on – that being said, this book revealed very little that I didn’t know already. Honestly, it was a bit disappointing, I expected a book promoted by The National Geographic to have a little something more. However, in spite of that this book is by no means a bad book. It truly is a superb collection of information on the history of vampires, one that every true vampire fan should read.
The author of Vampire Forensics most certainly did his research and did it well. SO very much is covered in this book and it is all done with perfect accuracy. This is a gem written by an actual historian. Readers will learn about Bram Stoker’s Dracula, about the darker history behind other famous vampire stories, about diseases that triggered vampiric beliefs, age-old superstitions, vampire lore around the world and so much more. I can’t possibly describe every vampire topic covered in Vampire Forensics; let’s just say that you will learn a lot!
As I said above, this book told me a lot of what I had previously known, however, it did delve much deeper into those topics than any other book I have read before. So, while I did know a lot of this information beforehand, I learned even more about each particular topic thanks to this book.
Something else I adored in this book was Jenkins’ writing style, it was fantastic. Instead of reading like a boring text book (like many non-fiction vampire books do) his beautifully written words came off more like a haunting horror story. He covered the history in a way that wasn’t dull, but rather in a way that was both chilling and stimulating.
Now, like all books, Vampire Forensics wasn’t 100% perfect. There were many sections in the book that, while absolutely fascinating, had very little to do with vampires or the history behind them. For example, the chapter on grave robbing and the history behind it was morbidly interesting, but didn’t play a real role in the history of vampires. Were potential vampire graves dug up? Yes, but not with the intention of robbing them. It was an enjoyable read, but one that could have been cut out. The off-topic chapters happen so frequently that it muddles the book and the point it’s trying to make. It makes the book a little less clear and left me wondering what the point of it all was and why the author didn’t focus strictly on vampires.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any hardcore vampire (or history) fan. However, while it is packed full of vampire history, I don’t feel that it accomplished what it set out to do. I was expecting a clear and chronological history on vampires, and well, I totally didn’t get that. If the history of vampires truly fascinates you I would pick up Vampire Forensics alongside other non-fiction vampire books.