Vampires of Avonmouth

By Tim Kindberg

Vampires of Avonmouth, a novel by Tim Kindberg
Book details

There are seminal books aplenty in genre fiction. These books are giants and other fiction stands on their shoulders to reach greater heights. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is one of the biggest influences on the horror genre bringing with it a folklore and character that still resonates today. With Dracula long out of copyright authors have found new and interesting ways to reinterpret the story or to influence their own work. Vampires of Avonmouth by Tim Kindberg pays homage to this legacy but sets their vampire lore in a cyberpunk world. 

By 2087, the UK that we know today is almost non-existent and people have given themselves over to an artificial intelligence that controls their lives. David is one of the few flesh-based detectives left whose ability to read body language and anomalies in humans makes him useful to the machines. His latest case is looking like an all-new type of crime as a pre-tech ship drifts into port harbouring 15 men and one woman. A woman who is off grid and suspected of being behind a series of crimes that are leaving people's minds drained. 

I am not the hugest scholar of Stoker, but there are certain aspects of Avonmouth that pay respect to this classic text, but there is also a lot that is all new. The premise starts vaguely familiar with an unknown ship coming into port, but from here the book deviates. This is all due to the use of the Cyberpunk subgenre. Never the simplest to follow, Avonmouth is a book that’s language proved no problem to a reader such as myself well versed in Cyberspeak, but new readers to the genre will take a while to get on board. 

The use of tech terms is important as it gives a sense of the future. Kindberg goes about their world building and part of this is through language and the technology. Different areas of the UK have differing relationships with AIs. Some are all in for integration, while other prefer to be more human. The dominance of an online intelligence allows Kindberg to introduce a new type of vampirism, one in which the victims survive in a ‘doll’ like state, their mind drained, not their blood.     

Kindberg introduces several clever ideas of how these cyber-vampire's work. The traditional concept of being invisible in mirrors is developed into being invisible to technology. A person that can live off the grid is powerful in this future Earth as the AI is unable to even acknowledge their existence. This is where David is prime for the story as he still has some human instincts. However, as we soon discover, he is fighting his own demons. 

The book is part horror, part cyberpunk, but also part crime noir. David has the grizzled feel of a Philip Marlowe, his addiction to vice and inner turmoil has forced him to stay away from loved ones. This flawed characters with the aid of a few equally broken allies may be the only person who can stop the Vampire. There is the feel of Bladerunner, even is David succeeds he is aiding a society that may not be worth saving. 

Vampires of Avonmouth is a multi-layered novel that covers several genres. As I find with most Cyberpunk novels that I have read, it is a complex read in places with many ideas. This is a novel that will suit a reader who likes to delve deep into ideas and a mystery, to get the most from the book you will want to unpick as much as you can from events. There are also nods to Dracula to look out for and a gritty feeling Private Eye tale. Avonmouth transports you to a dark vision of the future where technology has taken our souls, but a vampire is after our minds.

More information about the book can be found at  

Written on 22nd April 2022 by .

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