Thinking about vampires somehow got me thinking about Joseph Delaney. Which is slightly odd, as there are no vampires in the books of his I've read. Even odder is the fact that when I went to look him up I found this in his wiki-entry:
On first leaving school he started work as an apprentice engineer. Delaney went on to become an English teacher, before setting up the Media and Film Studies department at Blackpool Sixth Form College. He specialised in vampire literature.
From there I progressed to Delaney's website here.
In the U.K. the series of wonderfully frightening novels by Joseph Delaney is known as The Wardstone Chronicles, while over here it's known as The Last Apprentice. Apparently the fourth novel in the series is to be published this side of the Atlantic in March - which makes me wonder how we missed number three. (Oh wait, now I remember, I bought number two twice.)
The first three novels (over here) are titled Revenge of the Witch, Curse of the Bane, Night of The Soul Stealer. The fourth, to be released next month is called Attack of the Fiend. (But the fifth will be published in June in the U.K. so we may have to sneak over and get it - I've had this same problem reading Alexander McCall Smith's Ladies Detective novels).
The Last Apprentice novels are full of quite believable ghosts, witches and boggarts, and the hero is a spook's apprentice - a boy charged with confronting the world of the unquiet dead. I was pleased to read that one of the settings of the novels, Priestown, is based on Delaney's hometown of Preston - which also happens to be my maternal grandfather's birthplace.
I haven't heard the audio versions - wonder if they are read with a Lancashire accent? - but a friend bought them for her son and found they were too frightening. Isn't that wonderful? Think how seldom books are actually too frightening these days.