The Night Crossing

Written by Robert Masello
Review by Sarah Hendess

Vampires have been done (forgive me) to death. Which is why Masello’s suspenseful new novel about Bram Stoker is such a welcome offering. In The Night Crossing, we meet Stoker in 1895 as a frustrated writer, desperate for a good story idea. To pay the bills, he works—not unhappily—as the manager of the Lyceum Theater in London. But in rescuing a poor match girl who has thrown herself into the Thames, he finds himself tangled up in the nefarious scheme of the founders of an East End mission house.

Meanwhile, in the Carpathian Mountains, an explorer discovers an ancient golden box. She brings it home to London, not knowing it contains dangerous powers that the mission house founders will wield to murder thousands. She, Stoker, and the match girl try to stop the evil spreading through the city before more lives are lost—and in the process, Stoker finds the story inspiration he needs.

Told in short, punchy chapters with nary a vampire in sight, The Night Crossing vividly describes the Victorian London in which Egyptomania reigned, where the wealthy elite entertained their dinner guests by unwrapping a mummy after dessert. The novel has a few faults. Either third-person omniscient viewpoint or third-person limited would have worked for this story if Masello had but picked one. Additionally, the book calls for a good sweeping up of its liberal passive voice, and the storylines of a couple minor characters go unresolved. But Masello has woven such an enjoyable, at times downright scary, tale that most readers should be able to forgive these small shortcomings. I recommend curling up with this book on a crisp fall night, preferably with the wind howling outside.