As a teacher for a creative writing class for Christian teens, I was aware that books covering this latest phenomenon existed, even in our local Christian bookstores. However, I still had a hard time reconciling that with my heart and spirit.
That being said, when I received “Tandem” by Christian fiction author Tracey Bateman for review and realized it was indeed about vampires, I knew it wouldn’t be fair to the author or the book to put it away without at least giving it a shot, so I did.
One of my fears about the latest surge in the vampire craze (Christian or otherwise) aside from the obvious and spiritual aspect of it, is the way that vampires are glorified. Their lifestyle of bloodlust and violence have become seductive and sensual in nature and deemed as appropriate paranormal romances for teens, so much so that their behavior has been embraced by many a young adult.
And that was my concern about the book “Tandem”. But I have to admit, that as far as this book goes, it was unwarranted.
“Tandem” is essentially the story of three women. Amede Dastillon, her half-sister Eden and Missouri auction house owner, Lauryn McBride.
While researching and cataloguing items from an old Victorian home that she needs to auction off, Lauryn McBride comes across some letters, centuries old, written by an Amede Dastillon. Knowing the letters are personal in nature and would be treasured by her descendants, she is able to track down the Dastillon estate in Louisiana and sends them there. She has no way of knowing that the Amede who wrote those letters over a hundred years ago, is still alive. Amede is a vampire. And once she realizes that those letters were found at a home in Missouri, she heads their straightaway to find her long lost sister Eden.
And that’s when the trouble begins.
Abbey Hills, MO is now overwhelmed with ritualistic animal slayings and murders of their beloved citizens. Interestingly enough, they didn’t start until Amede came to town. But is she really the one responsible for them? And now the story gets really interesting. However, I can’t say more without having to list this review as a spoiler.
But the book does deal with vampires. And with that you usually get a plethora of blood trails, grisly murders and cultic activity. In “Tandem” however, although there were animal slayings and murders, they were not written out in graphic detail. As far as my own personal comfort level goes, I could have done without some of it (keep in mind that I’m of the squeamish sort anyway) especially in regards to the animal slayings, but all in all it did not sink to the level that I had presumed it would.
And there were Christian messages sprinkled throughout, but again they were subtle. Though I do believe her last sentence in the book explains the message she was intending.
Due to the multiple point of views in which the story was told it was a bit hard for me to follow, especially in the beginning. Though the further I read, the easier it became. I also was disappointed with the ending. It wrapped up really fast and seemed rushed.
However, what I loved about this book is the level of suspense it had. It kept me turning the page and just when I thought I knew what was going on and who was doing what it changed. These twists and turns were done very well by Ms. Bateman.
But most importantly, there were no gory graphic scenes or glorifying of vampires. What it did try to show was that our God is big enough to extend grace, mercy and salvation to the vilest amongst us, which in this case would include vampires (that is, of course, if they really existed).
I enjoyed reading “Tandem” by Tracey Bateman. It kept me interested enough to where I was able to finish it in less than a week. I kept going back to it because the storyline was compelling and intriguing. Will I read other vampire novels? No, probably not. The genre itself asks the readers to suspend a lot reality and that’s probably why sci-fi and fantasy novels are hard for me to get into. But would I read other books by Tracey Bateman?
Yes. I would.
“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”