Progeny of the Adder (1965) by Leslie H. Whitten Jr.

Progeny of the Adder
Progeny of the Adder
Rating

Some of the language in Progeny of the Adder (1965) can be hard to take: Women are “hysterics” and “bimbos,” black men are “obedient” “boys,” and gay men are “perverts.” Still, for those who love vampire fiction and its history, Progeny is a must read. 

Published in 1965, the novel places a classic vampire, who fears crosses, light, garlic, etc., in the modern world of forensic investigation. The ghoul may sleep in antique luggage filled with the soil of his homeland, but he drives a 61′ Dodge; his saliva is type tested and his victims can be identified with fingerprints. Though he has virtually no dialogue, he is still a fascinating figure, who, despite his enormous size and clumsy gait, keeps the police on their toes. 

Whitten, the author of Progeny, believed that his book was the basis of the well-known TV movie The Night Stalker, a claim denied by its creators. While the similarities are unmistakable, I am not sure that they are the result of direct and intentional copying. In a police procedural–which is essentially what both works are–there may be only so many ways that the narrative could unfold; a predetermined line of investigation that makes the stories seem so alike. Who knows? 

Overall, I found the book entertaining and an important part of vampire literary history.

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