Blood Cruise by Mats Strandberg
Jo Fletcher Books
On the Baltic Sea no-one can hear you scream
Ever since hearing Mats describe this book at Archipelacon I’ve been wanting to read it. It helped that I arrived at Archipelacon on a ferry from Stockholm. The book is set on one such ferry, a booze cruise overnighter (I got the early morning one, so not quite so boozy) with a washed up former Eurovision star as the main entertainment.
Something ancient and evil gets on board and mayhem ensues. This is a vampire book with a difference. Told in multiple POVs Strandberg weaves a compelling, page-turning thriller. Not an easy feat with multiple POV.
The characters are memorable and there is a slow burn set up where you get to know them, and wonder which of them will survive. When the mayhem starts the book becomes unputdownable as the blood splashes up the walls and the emetic effects of alcohol kick in. It’s a visceral delight.
The cast is also diverse, which is a pleasant change from most horror staples, and individual; which is impressive with such a large list of dramatis personae.
But dig a little deeper and you’ll see that the author has critiqued lad culture, the double-edged role of alcohol in society and the nature of relationships. This explains the 500ish page count as it’s a more nuanced horror than the premise would indicate.
A brilliant addition to isolation horror and a modern vampire delight, highly recommended.