Aug 22, 2018deebitner rated this title 5 out of 5 stars
First, a small disclaimer: I am a huge fan of Mahnke’s podcast, Lore. I urge you to give it a listen if you like creepy history, told by a guy who knows his subject matter and has a really nice speaking voice and good storytelling rhythm. That said, this book and its companion volume, “Wicked Mortals,” are their own experience and well worth the read. I’ve said before “I am not the target audience for this book” in other reviews. Friends, I am the target audience for this book.
Mahnke opens with a bang, taking on the subject of vampires as the initial topic. He talks about cases in the US, in Europe, and how vampire lore is different around the world. From there he moves on to stories of werewolves, the Jersey Devil, big flying critters from thunderbirds to the Mothman, and more. He does tell stories I hadn’t heard before, and he tells them well.
What stands out is his writing voice, which will annoy some people but I love to read. Mahnke has a delightfully snarky humor - on more than one occasion, he mocks people running into the dark after barely-seen things - and doesn’t actually believe in ghosts or monsters. As a result, his take is often refreshingly skeptical. Even he isn’t immune to the temptation to do the equivalent of “it was just the wind - OR WAS IT??” But when he does it, it’s pretty obvious what he’s doing. If you can’t get into that, or you assume that mocking the tale is mocking the reader, you won’t like this book. On the other hand, if you do like that style, it’s a great read for 3am.
Five of five stars.