The Dracula Dossier by James Reese
Reviewed for Harper Collins First Look
Release date October 7, 2008
In 1888, Bram Stoker was not yet the famous author of “Dracula.” Instead, he was the business manager of Henry Irving and the Lyceum Theatre. How did this man derive his inspiration for that epic monster novel? “The Dracula Dossier” by James Reese has a (fictional) answer.
“The Dracula Dossier” purports to be a compilation of Stoker’s letters, diary, and other items of interest around the time Jack the Ripper was claiming victims in London’s Whitechapel. According to ‘the dossier,’ Stoker actually knew the identity of The Ripper, a quack doctor unfortunately of his acquaintance named Frances Tumblety.
I initially had a difficult time getting into this book, but once I did I simply couldn’t put it down. Reese wrote a very compelling book. It got a bit mystical in places, but somehow it worked, perhaps because it is suggested throughout the novel that many of Stoker’s experiences through this period informed his work on “Dracula.” Even my difficulty getting into the book results from one of the novel’s strengths: it has a very period feel. Based on my limited knowledge – having once read “Dracula” two months ago – I felt the writing very convincingly mimicked Stoker’s style, making the whole thing feel very believable, at least as a document put together by Bram Stoker, if not as historical record.
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend picking it up when it comes out.