Strange Practice, by Vivian Shaw, follows Dr. Greta Helsing, Lord Edmund Ruthven, and Sir Francis Varney as they try to stay alive while being hunted through modern day London by mad medieval monks. It’s a lot of fun.
1—Mad Monks and Blue Light
There’s been a series of killings in London but what no one knows is that the killers aren’t just targeting humans but supernatural creatures as well. At least they don’t know until Varney turns up on Ruthven’s doorstep stabbed half to death and babbling about monks. Turns out there’s a new/ancient order running around “cleansing” the world of the wicked—and everyone is wicked.
The monks worship a mercury arc rectifier in the tunnels beneath the city—a remnant of creation has taken up residence in it and possessed the monks with the “voice of God” and commanded them to kill.
I’ll start with Dr. Helsing since the book bears her name—Greta is professional, competent, and caring. And though she faints, she’s not the only one in the book who does so. Which brings us to Lord Ruthven. Ruthven is a very old, very bored vampire and nothing like the way the portrayed him in that awful book (The Vampyre—they didn’t even spell his species correctly). There’s also August Cranswell, a junior curator at the British Museum, and a sort of unofficial ward of Ruthven’s. Then there’s Varney, the infamous Varney the Vampyre (they did spell his species correctly—something to do with being regenerated by the moon), who is seriously depressed, quite apart from having been stabbed. And last of the main cast, we have Fastitocalon, who it turns out is a demon with COPD.
There’s also the ghouls, and Greta’s friends who help her run the monster clinic—Anna, who’s a nurse, and Nadezhda who is a witch. They don’t get much page space but they are still fun.
Strange Practice wasn’t what I’d initially expected but I was pleasantly surprised. I look forward to the next book in the Dr. Greta Helsing series, which is titled Dreadful Company.