Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Justin Gustainis to the blog to chat about vampires, guns, and his newest urban fantasy release, Hard Spell. I had the opportunity to read Justin's contribution to the Those Who Fight Monsters anthology and really enjoyed his writing, so I'm excited to let him take over the blog for a day!
“I know what you’re thinking, vamp -- did I fire six silver bullets, or only five?”
A FEW THOUGHTS ON VAMPIRES AND GUNS
The line of dialogue quoted above is from the movie Dirty Harry Van Helsing, starring Clint Eastwood as a ruthless vampire hunter. Is has never been seen in the world that you and I live in, but Stan Markowski, the hero of Hard Spell, has seen it three times (before buying the DVD). Because in Stan’s world, the supernatural is real – and everybody knows it. Supernatural creatures (“supes”) have the same rights as anyone else – and the same responsibility to obey the law. In Scranton, PA, when one of them crosses the line, Stan Markowski is the one who gets the call. He’s a Detective Sergeant on the Scranton Police Department’s Occult Crimes Unit.
Like every cop, Stan carries a gun – a 9mm Beretta (the same model as the one used by the U.S. armed forces). He usually keeps it loaded with silver bullets – proof against both vampires and werewolves, and any human who is dumb enough to get in Stan’s way. He also carries some slugs tipped with cold iron, in case he needs to take down a fairy. And forget Tinkerbell, kids. In Stan’s world, a fairy can kick your ass – and plenty of them will, given an excuse.
Did you ever notice, in all the popular culture representations of vampires (in literature, film, TV, etc.), vampires never use a gun? Sure, they’ve got the fangs, and in many mythologies they are stronger and faster than humans. But why don’t they increase their badass potential by packing heat? It think it’s because a vampire attack is usually described in terms of the vamp wanting to drink your blood. For that, a .38 Special won’t do much good. But what if the vampire doesn’t want to eat you – what if he just doesn’t like you?
The only pop culture example I know of that shows a vampire using a gun is a 1959 western called Curse of the Undead. The bad guy is a vampire, but nobody knows it. He has a big reputation as a gunslinger. Of course, all of his gunfights take place after dark. He’s not actually all that fast – but if the other guy puts a bullet into him first, it has no effect, giving him plenty of time to return fire and kill his opponent. Talk about sneaky. Of course, eventually somebody figures out what’s going on, and makes a silver bullet. That was one surprised vamp gunslinger, I can tell you.
That case aside, vampires don’t use guns. But they do in Stan Markowski’s world – some of them, anyway. Like any other city, Scranton has its share of criminal gangs, and one of these is made up of vampires. Vampires need money, too, you know. Most of them live in apartments or houses, not crypts. They need new clothes once in a while, like the rest of us. They like flat screen TVs, too. And have you priced coffins lately? Most vampires earn their living with respectable jobs (on the night shift, of course), but some are drawn by the lure of easy money that a life of crime seems to promise. And if you mess with any of the Fang Gang, they’ll blow you away – and then maybe drink any blood you leave lying around. No sense letting it go to waste.
But even gangfangers know better than to mess with Stan Markowski. Because compared to Stan, Dirty Harry is a Cub Scout – and every vamp in Scranton knows it.
Thanks so much for stopping by today Justin! For more information on Justin and his books, you can find him here:
Watch the trailer
HARDSPELL (from Goodreads):
Stan Markowski is a Detective Sergeant on the Scranton PD's Supernatural Crimes Investigation Unit.
Like the rest of America, Scranton's got an uneasy 'live and let unlive' relationship with the supernatural. But when a vamp puts the bite on an unwilling victim, or some witch casts the wrong kind of spell, that's when they call Markowski. He carries a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.