Vampire$ is a 1990
1990 in literature
The year 1990 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*J. K. Rowling gets the idea for Harry Potter while on a train ride from Manchester to London. She says "I was staring out the window, and the idea for Harry just came. He appeared in my mind's eye, very fully formed...

Horror fiction
Horror fiction also Horror fantasy is a philosophy of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, inducing feelings of horror and terror. It creates an eerie atmosphere. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural...

 novel by John Steakley
John Steakley
John William Steakley, Jr. was an American author, best known for his science fiction writing. He published two major novels, Armor and Vampire$ ; the latter was the basis for John Carpenter's Vampires movie...

. A dark fantasy with a contemporary setting, the novel concerns a company called Vampire$, Inc. which treats vampire
Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person...

 hunting as a commercial enterprise, funded by large payments from the vampires' potential victims (although the company also secretly receives support from the highest levels of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...


Plot summary

The book opens with Vampire$, Inc. cleaning out a nest of vampires, introducing the main characters and setting the tone for the book. The team has some difficulty collecting their payment for dispatching said vampires, but ultimately collects their fee and hosts a wild party at a local motel where all of the team and some townsfolk engage in epic-level drinking and carrying on. The party is interrupted by a 'master' vampire
Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person...

 who essentially slaughters everyone at the party with the exception of Jack Crow and his second in command "Cherry Cat" Catlin.

A shaken Jack Crow regroups and begins to plan the formation of a new team, aided by Father Adam, a knowledgeable young priest sent to him by the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

. Events at the motel slaughter lead Jack to realize that silver, particularly blessed silver from a cross, can be used as a weapon against vampires. He has his weaponsmith Carl begin creating silver bullets and he recruits a skilled gunman named Felix, that Jack met while working as a government agent in Mexico. Felix proves to be as deadly with a pistol as Jack hoped and they seem to have a new and powerful resource to use against the vampires. In addition to the silver bullets, Carl also develops a "vampire detector" for use by the team, which proves to be a useful tool against the vampires (which are portrayed as fantastically fast and powerful compared to humans, particularly the 'master vampires').

A series of battles ensues, using these silver bullet
Silver bullet
In folklore, the silver bullet is supposed to be the only kind of bullet for firearms that is effective against a werewolf, witch, or other monsters...

s against the vampires, but key members of Jack's team are killed by the vampires, including a mother-figure Annabelle (who essentially "office managed" the team's residence and affairs) and the aging weaponsmith Carl. Jack, depressed and beaten, suicidally returns to a known favorite hotel where the vampires are sure to find him. Felix, Cat and Father Adam stage a rescue attempt but it ends with Father Adam dead and Jack spirited away by the vampire.

The novel closes with Felix taking a leadership role within Vampire$ Inc., after thwarting an attempt by the (now a vampire) Jack Crow to attack the Pope.

Relation to Armor

Part of the novel is about the relationship between the lead vampire hunter, ex-DEA
Drug Enforcement Administration
The Drug Enforcement Administration is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the United States...

 agent Jack Crow, and the gunman he hires, an ex-drugrunner named Felix. A note on the copyright page states, "This Felix is no other Felix. This Jack Crow is no other Jack Crow." In this novel, Felix is the owner of a bar called the Antwar Saloon; the main characters of Steakley's military SF novel Armor
Armor (novel)
Armor is a military science fiction novel by John Steakley. It has some superficial similarities with Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers but concentrates more on the psychological effects of violence on human beings rather than on the political aspects of the military, which was the focus of...

are named Jack Crow and Felix and they fight in "the Ant War". Despite the disclaimer, the Jack Crow and Felix characters in both novels have many parallels; Jack Crow is the wisecracking almost-anti-hero in both works, and Felix is the gifted-but-reluctant warrior.

Film adaptation

The novel served as the basis for the 1998 film, John Carpenter's Vampires
Vampires (film)
Vampires is a western-horror film directed by John Carpenter in 1998. Adapted from the novel Vampire$ by John Steakley, the film stars James Woods as Jack Crow, leader of a Catholic Church-sanctioned team of vampire hunters...

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