Sunglasses After Dark

Sunglasses After Dark

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by Nancy A Collins
     
 

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Sunglasses After Dark, by award-winning author Nancy A. Collins, tells the story of a punk female vampire/vampire-hunter searching for the man responsible turning her into one of the undead

One spring night in London, heiress Denise Thorne disappears while partying at a nightclub, never to be seen again. That very same night, Sonja Blue, a

Overview


Sunglasses After Dark, by award-winning author Nancy A. Collins, tells the story of a punk female vampire/vampire-hunter searching for the man responsible turning her into one of the undead

One spring night in London, heiress Denise Thorne disappears while partying at a nightclub, never to be seen again. That very same night, Sonja Blue, a tough-as-nails punk vampire/vampire-slayer, conceived in terror and blood, is borne from the city’s gutters. Saved by modern medicine before she could die, she is a living vampire who still possesses a soul and is determined to fight for what remains of her humanity. In the years since her bizarre resurrection, Sonja Blue travels the globe, hunting down and disposing of those creatures that prey on the innocent while searching for the vampire Noble who created her. But when she investigates a sleazy televangelist named Catherine Wheele, who is exploiting Denise Thorne’s parents, Sonja finds herself up against a powerful inhuman adversary. But as dangerous as Catherine Wheele proves to be, Sonja’s greatest foe remains the Other, the demonic personality with whom she is locked in a constant battle for control of their shared body. Can Sonja Blue overcome her inner demon in time to rescue an innocent man from Catherine Wheele’s unholy clutches? 

Acknowledged as one of the first Urban Fantasy novels, Sunglasses After Dark burst onto the fantasy/horror scene in 1989, garnering widespread critical praise and winning the Horror Writers Association’s coveted Bram Stoker Award, as well as the British Fantasy Society’s Icarus Award. Out of print for several years, this edition of Sunglasses After Dark has been extensively revised and edited by the author, and is now considered the preferred text.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Collins’ debut novel [Sunglasses After Dark] infuses the ancient myth of the vampire with a modern beat, embedding elements of the horror genre in a compelling psychological thriller.” —Publishers Weekly

“Horror fans will immediately recognize the name of Nancy Collins, possibly the most original voice in the world of vampire fiction since Anne Rice published Interview With the Vampire.” —Film Threat

Sunglasses After Dark is a wild ride.” —Fangoria

“Nancy Collins . . . has crafted a vision of the undead, fanged bloodsuckers that is steeped both in the rage, alienation and aggression of punk, and the rich, homespun vernacular of the rural Southern storytelling tradition.” —Paper

“If there is such a things as a splatterpunk masterpiece, Nancy A. Collins has written it.” —Asimov’s Science Fiction

“Collins . . . chronicles excess with an almost elegant stylistic restraint . . . Sunglasses After Dark is replete with eroticism and violence, movement and color.” —Locus 

“Nancy Collins’ bone-colored, blood-smeared star—for she is certainly a star—stands bright and hot at the pinnacle of the horror heap.” —Joe R. Lansdale, author of Bubba Ho-Tep

“A street poetess of pain and rage, Nancy A. Collins has cast an undeniable shadow across the tradition of dark and fantastic fiction.” —Cemetery Dance Magazine

“[Collins’] prose sings—now moody, now graphic, now scattershot, now lyric; her characters are ready to step off the page.” —Mystery Scene

“Collins has created a unique vampire in a very strange world that looks a lot like our own.” —Science Fiction Chronicle

Sunglasses [After Dark] was great.” —Joe Bob Briggs

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781504016261
Publisher:
Open Road Integrated Media LLC
Publication date:
06/09/2015
Series:
Sonja Blue Novels Series , #1
Pages:
248
Sales rank:
567,168
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.57(d)

Read an Excerpt

Sunglasses After Dark


By Nancy A. Collins

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 2012 Nancy A. Collins
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-3736-8


CHAPTER 1

The alarm on Claude Hagerty's cell phone played The Yellow Rose of Texas. Grumbling to himself, he stuck his dog-eared Louis L'Amour paperback in the top drawer of the desk and produced the keys to the Danger Ward from the depths of his orderly's whites. Three o'clock in the morning: time for his rounds.

Claude had been an orderly most of his adult life. He'd originally intended to go into pro football, but a bad knee injury in high school put an end to that career before it had the chance to begin. He later discovered that standing six-foot-three and tipping the scales at two-hundred and eighty pounds had its distinct advantages in the healthcare field. However, even at the age of thirty- eight, with high school twenty years gone and his midsection devolved into flab, he still wasn't anyone you'd want to fuck with.

He started work at Elysian Fields seven years ago, and as funny farms go, it was an okay job. It sure beat the hell out of the state hospital he had worked at. Elysian Fields didn't waste time on charity cases. The sanitarium specialized in "dependency problems," and its clients were the sons and daughters, mothers and fathers of prestigious families. But for those with relatives whose difficulties tended to be far more serious than a fondness for tranquilizers and vodka, there was the Danger Ward.

The reinforced steel door, painted a soothing pastel color for the benefit of the visitors, separated the nursing station from the rest of the ward. Claude rolled the barrier back enough to squeeze through. He remembered an old cartoon from his childhood, where a mouse ran in and out of the jaws of a sleeping cat. Funny how he always thought of that when he did his rounds.

He walked past the dayroom, where the better-behaved inmates were allowed to watch television and play Ping-Pong during the afternoon. Most were so heavily medicated all they could do was sit and stare at the tube or out the windows. There was no attempt at rehabilitation in the Danger Ward, although no one came right out and said it. Much like how no one mentioned the exact reasons why these people were locked up. But such discretion was what their clients paid them for. All in all, Elysian Fields wasn't any different from any other private asylum. Except for her.

Claude grimaced involuntarily. Hell, this used to be an easy shift. Except for a patient having the odd nightmare now and then, there wasn't much for him to worry about He could catch up on his reading, watch TV, and maybe even nap if he felt like it, without worrying about being disturbed.

That was before they dragged her in, six months ago. It had been during his shift; she was bound in a straitjacket and, God as his witness, a length of chain, with four strong men handling her. And still she lashed about, yowling like a wild thing. For a minute it looked as if she would get loose. Claude could still hear the sharp snap of the chain breaking. Then Dr. Wexler was there, syringe in hand, jabbing the needle through the canvas. The woman collapsed immediately. Judging from the size of the dosage, she should have died, but she didn't. Claude was ordered to carry her into Room Seven. That was the first time he touched her. It was enough-

That's when his job got tough. Since that night, he hadn't had a single shift go by without one of the inmates waking up with the night horrors. They all claimed the woman in Room Seven walked into their dreams. They couldn't—or wouldn't—elaborate on the details. Claude described some of the dreams to Dr. Morial, the ward's on-call psychiatrist. Dr. Morial asked him if he liked his job, so Claude let it drop.

Life was complicated enough without trying to figure out why a bunch of loonies should fixate on a fellow inmate they had never seen. Or how they could possibly describe what she looked like. He wondered if the patients were equally restless during the day. Somehow he doubted it. She wasn't awake during the day.


I hear the orderly's heavy tread as he checks his charges one by one. It is night and the doctors have fled, leaving their patients alone with their dreams. It's been too long since I could think this clearly. It took me two months to crawl out of madness. Another three passed before my system began to break down the narcotic cocktails they pump into me every day. Their drugs won't do them any good; with every night that passes my immunity grows stronger. My mind is my own again. It's been so long. Perhaps too long.

I fear irreparable harm was done while I was away. The Other has been doing ... things. I'm not sure what, but I can feel the changes deep inside me. The Other has been free to move unchecked. I have to get out of here before something horrible occurs. I may have already done something. Possibly hurt someone. I can't remember, and I do not want to scan the Other's memory for clues. I'm still weak and could easily become lost in its personality. I cannot risk that. Not now.

The Other's been dream-walking, of that I'm certain. It hasn't gone unnoticed, at least I should feel lucky they're only lunatics. No one believes them. No one wants to believe them. I've got to get out of here before I lose control. I haven't fought The Other this long in order to surrender in a madhouse. But I'm so tired. Too receptive. I can feel their dreams pressing in on me, like some great unseen weight. I've become a magnet for their nightmares. That worries me. I've never been able to do this before. What other changes have occurred during my eclipse?

The orderly is nearing the end of his rounds. I can hear his footsteps echoing in the hall and his ragged breathing. He's a big man. I can smell his sweat. He's checking on the inmate next door. It'll be my turn next. He always saves me for last. I guess it's because he's scared of me. I don't blame him. I'm scared of me, too.


Claude's frown deepened as he watched Malcolm whimper in his sleep. Even without medication, Malcolm usually slumbered like a child. Now he writhed under the bedclothes, his face blanched and perspiring. His lips moved in feeble protest to some unknown command. He'd be waking up in a few minutes, screaming his lungs out, but Claude knew better than to try to shake the boy awake; the last time he'd tried it he'd damned near lost a finger. Malcolm liked to bite. Locked in his dream, Malcolm moaned and knotted the sheets with blind fingers. The muscles in his clenched jaw jumped as his teeth ground together. Claude shook his head and shut the observation plate set into the face of the metal door.

There was only one patient left to check. The woman in Room Seven. Claude wasn't even sure of her name. The charts and medication logs simply read "Blue." She was the last one on his rounds every night, simply because it took him that long to work up the nerve to look at her. Maybe it was different during the day. Perhaps in the sanity of daylight she was just another loony, but he doubted it.

The door to Room Seven was the same as the others, a cheerily painted piece of metal strong enough to withstand a two-ton battering ram. An observation silt, covered with heavy-gauge wire mesh and protected by a sliding metal plate, was set into the door at eye level, although Claude had to stoop a bit to look through it. The interior of Room Seven was radically different from the others on the ward. The other inmates had rooms that— except for the heavy padding on the walls, the narrow high-set windows, and the naked light bulbs locked in impenetrable cages of wire—could be mistaken for rooms at the Holiday Inn. Elysian Fields furnished them unbreakable fixtures bolted to the floor and wall, and the beds were fitted with matching designer sheets and restraining gear. However, Room Seven was bare of everything but its occupant. There wasn't even a bed. She slept curled up on the padded floor like a hibernating animal, tucked into the farthest corner, where the shadows were deepest. At least that's what he'd been told by the day shift. Claude had never really seen her asleep. Taking a deep breath, he flicked back the latch on the observation plate and slid it open.

The woman called Blue crouched in the middle of her cell, her face angled toward the high, narrow window set ten feet from the floor. She was naked except for the straitjacket, her bare legs folded under her as if she were at prayer.

It was hard to tell how old she was, but Claude guessed she couldn't be more than twenty-four. Her filthy hair hung about her face in rattails. None of the nurses were willing to touch her, not that Claude blamed them.

She knew he was watching, just as he'd known she'd be there, crouching like a spider in its web. He waited silently for her to acknowledge him, yet dreading it at the same time. It had become a ritual between them.

She turned her head in his direction. Claude's stomach tightened and there was a thundering in his ears. He felt as if he was barreling down a steep hill in a car without brakes. Her eyes locked on his and she inclined her chin a fraction of an inch, signaling her awareness of his presence. Claude felt himself respond in kind, like a puppet on a string, and then he was hurrying back down the corridor.

In the darkness, Malcolm woke up screaming.

CHAPTER 2

The scene opens on a vast auditorium, its floor jammed with row upon row of metal folding chairs. Wheelchairs clutter the aisles. Behind the raised stage hangs a mammoth banner bearing the likeness of a smiling man. His nose is strong and straight, the cheekbones high, and his wide, toothy grin does not extend to the hawk-like eyes nestled beneath the bushy white eyebrows. His silvery mane would be the envy of an Old Testament patriarch.

The eternally smiling man is Zebulon "Zeb" Wheele: Man of God, Healer of the Sick, Speaker of Prophecy, and founder of the Wheeles of God Ministry. The superimposed electronic graphics explain, for those viewing at home, that this "healing event" has taken place in Dallas, Texas, three months previous.

The audience, most of which are encumbered by canes and walkers, clap and sing hymns while awaiting their chance to be touched by the divine. Many study the huge portrait of the healer, comparing it to the reduced likenesses printed on the back of their programs. The air is heavy with sweat, hope, and anxiety.

Suddenly, the lights go down and a spotlight hits the stage. The organ music swells and a figure strides from the wings. It is a woman in a gold lame pantsuit, her hair shellacked into a Gordian knot. The applause is thunderous. The woman is Sister Catherine, widow of the late Zebulon Wheele. It is she they have come to see.

Catherine Wheele accepts the welcome, smiling broadly and throwing kisses to the crowd. She takes the microphone from the podium and addresses the faithful. "Hallelujah, brothers and sisters! Hallelujah! It gladdens my heart to know that the words and deeds of my dear, departed husband are still manifest in the joyful spirits of those who have felt the power of Our Lord Jesus Christ through his loving hands! Every day I receive hundreds of letters from y'all out there, telling me how my darling Zeb changed your lives! The sick made well! The deaf to hear! The blind to see! Hallelujah!"

But now her manner darkens, as she struggles to suppress the hitch in her voice. "But I also hear from those who say they are forlorn. They are afraid they'll never know the miracle of divine mercy, that they'll never see salvation, because my blessed Zebulon was called to God. Are these poor souls doomed to live their lives in pain and torment, never to know the grace and forgiveness of Our Lord? Say no!"

"No!" Only a few voices respond, uncertain of themselves.

"Is it?" Her voice suddenly becomes harsher and more demanding.

"No," the coliseum answers with a little more confidence than before.

"Is it?" she shrieks, spittle flying from her lips.

"No!" Two thousand voices—shrill and pure, baritone and falsetto, weak and strong—join together.

Catherine Wheele smiles. She is pleased. Once more she is a pleasant Sunday- school teacher. "Do not fear, brothers and sisters! While Brother Zebulon may no longer be amongst you, I am still here! As Elijah's mantle fell upon Elisha, so has Zebulon's gift been passed to me. After my darling husband's tragic death, I received a vision, where I saw Zebulon standing between two angels so beautiful it hurt to look at them. Zeb then sayeth unto me: 'Honey, promise me you'll carry on my work.' And I said, 'Zeb, I can't do the things you do. No one can!' But he just smiled and said: 'As I leave all my earthly things to you, so do I bequeath my heavenly gifts!" Can I get an 'amen' on that?"

"Amen!"

"As it was written in First Corinthians, Chapter Twelve: 'To one is given utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing!' I was overcome by the glory of Christ and I fell to the floor and stayed there all night, crying and praying and blessing my sweet savior. When I awoke I found myself blessed with the gifts of knowledge and healing! Now I am able to continue my husband's good works, and that's what y'all are here for, isn't it, brothers and sisters?"

"Yes!"

"I have mighty big shoes to fill," she admits, gesturing to the banner draped behind her. "But for me to let you down would be the greatest sin ever committed. I shall try not disappoint you, friends. Let the healing begin!"

The choir sings hosannas as Sister Catherine exhorts the crowd to give generously to her crusade to build a Zebulon Wheele Memorial Chapel. Strapping young men work the crowd, carrying large plastic trashcans in place of offering plates. A thirty-nine-year-old woman with 'sugar diabetes' is brought from the audience and told to throw down her insulin. She obeys as Sister Catherine grinds the ampoules into the floorboards with one deft twist of her high heel. The crowd roars amen. Sister Catherine then reminds the congregation to give generously to the Zebulon Wheele Memorial Home for Unwed Mothers as the ushers make a second round.

An elderly man suffering from a heart condition is wheeled on stage. Sister Catherine places her hand inches from the man's forehead, then strikes him with the flat of her palm. The man begins to shriek and howl in ecstasy, his arms spinning like pinwheels. Sister Catherine grabs hold of the supplicant and pulls him to his feet. To the amazement of the crowd, the euphoric old man pushes her across the stage in the wheelchair. By the time they reach the speaker's podium, the old man's face is beet-red and covered in sweat. Two young men in dark suits with narrow ties and narrower lapels emerge from the wings and hastily escort him into the darkness beyond the lights.

The congregation is well-pleased. They clap and shout and stamp their feet. "Hallelujah! Amen! Praise the Lord!" rebounds from the walls. Sister Catherine accepts their veneration, not a hair out of place, her hands held high. Her gold lame pantsuit shimmers in the lights from the cameras. Tears of humility smear her makeup, leaving dark trails on her cheeks.

"His will be done! His will be done, brothers and sisters! As it was said in Matthew, Chapter Fifteen: 'Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, and the dumb, and he healed them so that they marveled when the dumb spoke, the maimed became whole, the lame walked, and die blind saw!' Praise God! Praise ..."

Sister Catherine falls abruptly silent, her eyes sweeping the auditorium like a hawk sighting prey.

"Someone here is in dire need of healing. I can feel that need, calling out to God to ease the pain. I have healed others tonight, but this need is greater than all of those combined! Tell me, Lord. Tell me the name of this afflicted soul, so I may minister to his needs." She lowers her head, seeking divine counsel as she prays into the microphone.

The camera slowly pans the audience as they wait for God to speak to Sister Catherine. Who will it be? Who will be called out to be healed? There are many worthy of attention, and the ushers have made sure they are seated in the front rows, where the camera can see them. The camera lens pans the line-up with the eye of a connoisseur, lingering on the most pathetic cases: an elderly woman so twisted by osteoporosis she sees nothing but her feet; a drooling microcephalic supported on either side by his aged parents; a once-pretty girl who fell from her boyfriend's motorcycle and slid face-first along an asphalt road.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Sunglasses After Dark by Nancy A. Collins. Copyright © 2012 Nancy A. Collins. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author


Nancy A. Collins has authored more than 20 novels and novellas and numerous short stories. She has also worked on several comic books, including a 2-year run on the Swamp Thing series. She is a recipient of the Bram Stoker Award and the British Fantasy Award, and has been nominated for the Eisner, John W. Campbell Memorial, and International Horror Guild Awards. Best known for her groundbreaking vampire series Sonja Blue, which heralded the rise of the popular urban fantasy genre, Collins is the author of the bestselling Sunglasses After Dark, the Southern Gothic collection Knuckles and Tales, and the Vamps series for young adults. Her most recent novel is Left Hand Magic, the second installment in the critically acclaimed Golgotham urban fantasy series. She currently resides in Norfolk, Virginia, with a Boston terrier.

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Sunglasses after Dark (Sonja Blue Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't believe I found this book again. I read this book when it was first out in paperback back in 1990. Needless to say, it made such an impression on me that I remembered the name and am still looking for it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is hard to find a new Vampire novel that can capture your attention like Nancy Collins' original character 'sojia blue'. Sonjia is a Vampire who does not feed on humans but feeds off of other vampires. She is reckless and wild. This story will keep you awake reading all night. A MUST for all vampire novel lovers!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't usually bash a book, because its all in the readers opinion whether you like a book or not. But trying to read this book around all the typos and gramatical errors was so distracting it took away any enjoyment I might have gotten out of the story. For a book with all these rave reviews I was very disappointed. Purchase at your own risk.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of the Sonia Blue series and fall in love with them over and over again!!!!
Adams1369 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this angle of how and what it is for the character to become and life as a vampire.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Collins has establshed a new vampire mythology, one based on disease. Her character is dark, morbid, divided and more akin to Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake than any of Rice's actual vampires. She's tough talking and street-wise, dirty, nasty and sexy. If you like Anne Rice, you might not like Collins. Rice is opulent and velvety, gold brocade and all that. This is the vampire punk revolution.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being an avid Anne Rice fan, my friend gave this book to me as a gift. She thought i would like it. It had a great idea, but the author didn't carry it along properly. It may be worth picking up, but don't expect to be overwhelmed. personally, i'd rather read The vampire lestat for the 3rd time.