I just finished reading 'The Radleys' by Matt Haig. It roars. I thought I was picking up a murder mystery given the little bit of blood dripping from the fence post on the front cover. I didn't bother reading the jacket to see if my assumption was correct. I'm glad I didn't.
If I'd realized that it was a vampire story, I might, might have put it back on the shelf. I went through a vampire stage a while back with The Vampire Diary and similar. Vampires dropped back briefly in my reading portfolio with the Twilight series, then dropped off again.
I get tired of vampire stories after taking brief excursions into their dens.
The Radleys was a completely different kind of vampire, more human than not. I loved the book. It is a rimbombo book!
Haig is a British author and as such the book has a slightly different flavor than most American books. I've never put my mind to determining how I realize it's a British author within a few pages, someday I'll put some thought into it. I usually flip to the cover to confirm, then read on using my fake-mental-British accent.
Vampire loving readers will enjoy this one. There's the usual conversions and blood, but it definitely has a twist or two or three.
Underlying all the vampire action The Radleys is a book that explores family and friend relationships, secrets, and, of course, the interaction of humans and vampires. The books delves into the character's darker and better sides. I found it easy to put myself into each of the character's shoes as Haig did an excellent job of dropping me into one character after the others' mind.
I read it in one sitting. It rarely did what I expected it to do, except at the end. However, even then, while I guessed where it might be headed, I wasn't quite sure.
Vampires living next door to you? sitting next to you at school? on the bus? Could your best friend be a vampire? Reading 'The Radleys' might have you wondering about that pale kid down the street.
Originally published in Great Britain, Canongate Books Ltd
Free Press (a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.) hardcover edition December 2010
Other books by Matt Haig:
The Last Family in England
The Dead Fathers Club
The Possession of Mr. Cave