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Dracula Returns

Novel by Robert Lory (USA) 1973.

Written very much in the vein of the old pulp heroes: all the required plot devices are here, but with an intriguing extra concept. As can be expected, our 'hero', Professor Damien Harmon, is immensely wealthy (through a large inheritance) and intelligent (two doctorates and a master's degree before the age of 25). He also has a good reason to employ unorthodox methods in the fight against crime - working in 1938 as special assistant to the LAPD Commissioner, he exceeded his brief and went into the field, where he was severely beaten and left for dead by the gang he was investigating. Subsequently he was dismissed from the force, paralysed below the waist and with a metal plate cupping the front of his brain.

To compensate for his helpless state, he has a large and able assistant, framed and disgraced (but innocent) ex-cop Cameron Sanchez. Now he has an additional 'ultimate weapon': Count Dracula himself, together with the Count's 'assistant', the mind-reading catwoman Ktara. Controlling the vampire by means of an intricate device placed next to Dracula's heart, he takes on a gang of dangerous criminals with bloody results. Complex and fascinating, Lory counters much of the reader's natural scepticism with plausible ideas. Very much for pulp fans only, but easily on a par with many of its esteemed predecessors.

The main drawback to Dracula Returns, in keeping with its pulp roots, is that it is mostly a stage setter for the series which followed: The Hand of Dracula (1973), Dracula's Brothers (1973), Dracula's Gold (1973), The Drums of Dracula (1974), The Witching of Dracula (1974), Dracula's Lost World, Dracula's Disciple and Challenge to Dracula.

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