Cover Image: Bloodsucker City

Bloodsucker City

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Member Reviews

The concept intrigued me, but the writing and characters didn’t. I’ve worked in prisons and perhaps that affected my opinion! Apologies, DNF.
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This novella had a really interesting premise. Reading a synopsis that likens it to a female Shawshank Redemption, I can see why that comparison has been made.

The plot is pretty simple, but compelling. It’s 1933 - Lena is a struggling single mother who is falsely accused of murdering her son, and sentenced to life imprisonment in Steelgate Prison. Run by mysterious wardens, the prison is full of horrors beyond her expectations.

The novella does suffer from clunky writing and a few poorly developed plot points, but overlooking that, it’s a fun read with good atmosphere, action and horror.
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This was a quick read but still delightful! A great vampire book to kick off fall reading. I think the one thing that I really enjoyed about this book is that we are so used to the vampires being the good guys these days, and this brings on the classic take of vampires=evil. I really probably would've enjoyed it more if it wasn't a novella and had a bit more length and plot development to it but if you want a quick and easy vampire read, this is it!
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Bloodsucker City is a riveting novella with a fascinating cast of characters and plenty of gruesome scenes. Lena is a compelling protagonist who is independent, smart, and cunning when she needs to be. From the harrowing opening scene where she finds her son’s body to her tough fight for survival in prison, she kept me rooting for her. 

I thought the writing successfully conveys the bleak day-to-day life in Steelgate. The book takes its time introducing the vampire angle. The reader learns along with Lena exactly what is haunting Steelgate and the wait pays off. There are layers to the threats in this place.  There’s a particular scene involving a dead body that will be hard for me to forget. 

While I enjoyed how fast the story moves, I thought the ending wraps up too easily. The vampires were creepy and I would have loved to learn more about them.  But this is an entertaining horror story of survival and vengeance, and a noteworthy take on vampires.
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Quick and easy read, very interesting concept. Definitely unique and worth reading if this is your sort of genre.
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Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher/author for providing me with an e-copy in exchange for my honest review.

This book was exactly what I wanted it to be! I loved it. I will make sure to check out other books by this author. When I requested this I was just intrigued by the concept of it and I loved how it turned out. This story had a great plot and if you have read this and enjoyed it, This was so much. It was such a great story. I would say give this one a try. I will continue to follow this author. Way to go to this author for not letting me down.
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Jim Towns new book is a harrowing story set in 1933 when women really did not have any rights and could be taken advantage of and manipulated once through into the penal society.  This is not the Orange is the New Black or a 1970’s women prison film but a book that deals with the atrocities of women’s prison at this time but with a horror slant that makes it even more entertaining.

Lena is a strong character that at first seems that she would be weak and preyed upon by her surrounds but in fact holds and inner strength that is rewarding and makes you cheer her on as she is faced with a circumstance that no one is willing to acknowledge out loud.  The characters running the prison give a nod to Barlow from Salem’s Lot and which gives another dimension as they are more calculating and dangerous due to their intelligence and their overall disregard for their wards.

The plot moves at an excellent pace and as the reader becomes more invested in this dark world, you are left intrigued and totally invested in this world.  Towns has architected a truly realistic world that feels like it exists and although this is a work of fiction, he also highlights the female struggle of the 1930s in a prison setting which he does remarkably well.

This is a book that ticks a lot of boxes and does it in a winning narrative, plot driven and raises social issues at the same time without over egging which so many writers tend to do.  Towns shows that he is the master of this world and enjoyed every nuisance, mystery, twisting plot lines and fully onboard from the very beginning until the end.  I was left wanting more and no better acclaim to a great book is to always want more of this world that I was totally captivated in.  Excellent.
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A light horror which can be read standalone.  The novella itself reads like a comic to me and I feel like it would transfer very easily into an illustrated story that would appeal greatly to classic horror fans.
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This was one of those books where the blurb made it sound like something it wasn't. I struggled to get into this one and ended up skimming through the last half of it. Unfortunately, this one just wasn't for me.
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A quick-paced and nasty little novella (that's a compliment) about a falsely imprisoned young mother who's got nothing to lose.

If you are good at suspending your disbelief and going with the flow of the story, you should enjoy this book. I am too picky of a reader - I'm working on it, believe me, I know it doesn't always suit - not to lay out all of the inconsistencies and plot holes. Not all books deserve this treatment. Bloodsucker City certainly doesn't. It's a noir-ish period horror piece that's entertaining and effective enough. If anything, I'd like to see Towns expand on the vampires' history and their lore and mythology. The book hints at their backstory but I love a fully fleshed-out villain, and I wanted more.

The copy I read was unfortunately in need of an editor - in fact, this has been a common theme throughout many of the ARCs I've read lately. Where have all the good editors gone? (I'm available.) Tenses changed between sentences, as did names and locale spelling. These things are not major issues, but they are also minor enough to be quick and easy fixes before the book is shipped out. I really hope to see this trend turn around soon.
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Lena, a poor young widow, is falsely accused of murdering her own son and sentenced to life in the infamous Steelgate Women's Prison, an ancient stone castle built atop a rocky mountain in the middle of nowhere. 
This novella, a little over 100 pages, had a lot of punch. I adored Lena and cheered for her the entire time. I hadn't spent much time with bloodsucking fiends in a long time, and when done properly, as this was, I discovered how much I missed them. These aren't sexy vampires, and they don't glitter in the least. These are genuine articles. Ancient, bloodsucking monstrosities that provided some horrible visions to this horror girl's head.
So, sure, this was entertaining and well-executed. So much so that, in a rare gesture of kindness, I'm rounding up my rating. Fans of the genre will enjoy this. Thank you Netgalley.
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My sincere thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to read this book via a digital arc. 

An innocent woman is found guilty of the murder of her beloved little boy, and is sentenced to the local women’s penitentiary for the crime. Called Bloodsucker City - this prison is known for sucking out any remaining hope from its wards as they serve out their sentences. Between gangs of women, cruel guards, and horrible punishments - she finds herself even more terrified of the seven Wards of this prison. Lurking over the women, these men seem to be everywhere at once. And an innocent woman can only take so much before her mind turns to the one thing every prisoner dreams of but rarely attempts - escape. 

Orange is the New Black meets Dracula in this fast paced gory little horror novel. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this book, and am happy to say that the cover does not disappoint!
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This was pure entertainment and I quite enjoyed reading it. Suspense to the very end, and a fun vampire read. Loved that the vampires were the bad kind. Language wise not great, but still OK. I can't say it was among my favourite vampire books, but still worth reading.
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This was great, and I am shocked that I really liked it. It was absolutely chilling, but also completely riveting, especially for a novella, which I generally dislike if I'm being honest. The concept seemed weak, but it was also really fantastic and engaging - absolutely worth a read, spooky season or not.
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This book was so good, and such a surprise! I found it to be the absolute perfect length, and could not put it down. The Wardens of Steelgate Prison are NOT to be messed with, but neither is our protagonist. This book was chilling, with a riveting plot and a well crafted atmosphere. I cannot wait to pick up more by Jim Towns in the future!

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I love a good novella, especially in horror form. There’s just something about taking a terrible, horrific tale and managing to condense it down to something around 100 pages while still managing to tell a whole story and get your point across, as an author, that impresses me so much. It’s much the same thing with short stories, but since “Bloodsucker City” is a novella (clocking in at 138 pages in paperback format), I’ll save my breath gushing about short stories in the horror genre and get to the novella this story has the most in common with, style and plot-wise, but is also the complete opposite of: “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”. 

And I mean it: this could be a female-centric version of “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” if the timeline were changed to match the third wave of female incarceration in the United States during the 1930s and Stephen King wrote it as a horror novella. All the way from the unjust imprisonment of an innocent woman for life in a forbidding, stark, and miserable women’s prison perched atop a jagged mountain in the middle of nowhere to an unconventional escape… there are other similarities, but I don’t want to spoil anything. 

The only reason I’ve given up those two details is because I believe the parallels between King’s novella and what Jim Towns’ has written here are completely intentional, and it really works. If you were to do a compare and contrast paper between the two novellas, it would be terrifically interesting, because what both protagonists (Elena in “Bloodsucker City” and Andy in King’s novella) go through is similar and horrific, but with such different definitions of horror. “Bloodsucker City” is the feminist horror dark mirror of “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”, and I think that was the whole point: Prison is horrific for everyone, but as with every systemic institution in America, prison is more horrific for women than it is for men. 

I really and truly enjoyed every page of this. I encourage you to pick it up.
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The premise is simple - “female Shawshank with vampires” - and Jim Towns does a fine job with the concept. There's nothing truly groundbreaking or surprising here, as it follows the concept completely to its logical conclusion, but that doesn't detract from the good times to be had reading it. It’s a fun book that made for a great first read of the Halloween season.

Thank you to NetGalley, Jim Towns, and the publisher Castle Bridge Media for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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“Bloodsucker City” by Jim Towns is a morbid tale that dives into the human psyche and bloodthirsty nature of vampires. The story depicts the horrors one must suffer through when at the mercy of an age-old creature that has lost its humanity. Towns steps away from the predictable cliches and patterns of Vampire stories readers can no longer tolerate. Readers will be re-introduced to the unsettling atmosphere and violence Vampires inspire between themselves and humans that always ends in tragedy and gore.

Lena is sent to a women’s prison after she is found guilty of a crime she didn’t commit. Isolated and cut off from any form of civilization outside the prison, Lena senses there is something off about her new home. These supposed criminals are more afraid of the wardens that run the place than of each other. As Lena navigates the routines and rules of the prison, the inmates hint at something much sinister within the prison’s walls that might have something to do with the missing women and the rising death toll. With nowhere to run and no help to be found, Lena must go to extreme lengths to survive or become another woman to disappear. 

An extremely tense and gripping novel! The author’s writing style mimics the visual direction of a screenplay or movie. It adds to the creepy ambiance of the prison and its inmates who are rough around the edges despite their high levels of paranoia. The visuals immerse readers into this morbid tale of deception and violence. Those who enjoy a good vampire story or would like to dive into a more original tale will definitely enjoy Towns’ blend of mystery, fantasy, and horror. It’s unpredictable, grizzly, and masterfully presents the extremes people will go to when they feel there are no other options but one in order to survive. 

The only thing that could be worked on a bit more was the dialogue at the beginning of the story. It did feel slightly cliché or scripted which could be due to the fact readers are immediately pulled into the horror without having any kind of connection to the characters or the moment of terror. I felt disconnected from the scene and worried I wouldn’t develop an interest in the story or main character. That changed when the events in the story picked up, the dialogue became more natural, and Lena quickly became a character I rooted for due to her fierce determination. There were other characters I admired as well but due to the length of the novel, Lena was the one I understood and knew the best.

Fans of vampires (and even those who are getting sick of seeing those bloodsuckers in fiction) will easily be captivated by the events within this novel and fall for the old classic tales of vampires. Look for “Bloodsucker City” by Jim Towns on its expected publication date of December 21st, 2021, and add it to your reading lists!

Thank you to Netgalley and Castle Bridge Media (Independent Book Publishers Association) for providing me with an e-arc of this novel and the opportunity to share my honest opinion in this review.
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this was such a good read, I loved the premise of vampires and shawshank redemption together. This book does not disappoint, the characters were great and were unique from other vampire novels I read.
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A female Shawshank Redemption with.....vampires! Sign me up!


Lena comes home to her 11 year old son after a night of cocktail waitressing to find him murdered. The police arrest her and she is found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. The Steelgate Island Prison for Women is where she is to serve her sentence but this prison isn't just a prison and the shadows you see out of the corner of your eye? They're real and they're hungry!

What a bloodcurdling good time this was!!! I loved Lena and was rooting for her the entire way. It's been a while since I've spent time with bloodsucking fiends and when done right, as this was, I realized how much I miss them. These aren't sexy vampires and they sure as shit don't sparkle. These are the real deal. Ancient, bloodsucking monstrosities that delighted this horror girls mind with some gruesome visuals. Bon appetite! 4 stars!

Also a big thumbs up to the cover of this one. It is fantastic!

Thank you to NetGalley and Castle Bridge Media for my complimentary copy.
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