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Publisher's Summary

It’s the late 1980s, and Michael Fenton, editor of Ramboona (a magazine dedicated to forgotten films), is attempting to track down the lost test footage from the 1931 Frankenstein produced by Universal Studios. It’s the holy grail of horror film aficionados: the 20-minute reel in which Bela Lugosi portrays Frankenstein’s monster instead of Boris Karloff, who would go on to make cinematic history with his portrayal of Mary Shelley’s creation. In his attempt to locate this 50-year-old film canister, Mike is led down a labyrinth of blind alleys amidst the topsy-turvy wonderland of Los Angeles and environs.

When we first encounter Mike, he’s making a pilgrimage to Lugosi’s final resting place at Holy Cross Cemetery. This is where he meets Lucy Szilagyi, a struggling young actress who happens to be visiting Sharon Tate’s grave (located only a few tombstones away from Lugosi’s). Lucy, a film buff herself, joins Mike in his quixotic search, helping him track down such curious, real-life characters as Maila Nurmi (an out-of-work actress known more famously as “Vampira”), Bela Lugosi, Jr., science fiction novelist Curt Siodmak, and Manly P. Hall (master hypnotist, mystic, Lugosi confidant, and author of a strange occult encyclopedia entitled The Secret Teachings of All Ages). All of these individuals have valuable pieces of information that could lead Mike to the hidden location of the lost test reel. Lugosi’s grave is also where Mike encounters a mysterious old man who promises him the footage he so desperately desires. But the man offers the item only at a most unusual price....

Bela Lugosi’s Dead is one-third detective story, one-third Hollywood ghost story, and one-third pulp adventure tale….

©2021 Robert Guffey (P)2021 David N. Wilson

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Bela Lugosi's Dead

Since I love the old B&W horror movies with stars like Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, I was excited to find this book. Add in the fact that I was a huge goth/punk fan in the 1980's and this book is named after a classic song by Bauhaus, I knew I had to read it.

Mike is a diehard Lugosi fan and aspiring writer when he meets a beautiful woman named Lucy. Soon, the pair find themselves publishing a fanzine of old-time horror along with another fan named Eric. The story progresses from there with tidbits of history about Lugosi and a search for lost footage of Lugosi's failed screen test as Frankenstein.

This book was actually quite different than I expected. For one thing, there were two story lines in the book. As the book progressed, there was a major twist to the whole thing that totally caught me off guard. I would say that it was a true romp throughout and entertaining, especially if the reader is knowledgeable about this era of film.

The narrator did a great job and added a lot to the book. His voice kept my interest throughout and his pacing was good. My main complaint with the book, especially as an audiobook, was the rapid switch between the two story lines. There was no noticeable break between these stories and I was often confused about what was going on. In some cases, there were numerous switches in one chapter and it would take a few sentences to figure out what was happening. I have listened to other audiobooks that used a sound effect or longer than normal pause to indicate this type of switch and I think that would have been helpful here.

I was given the chance to listen to this audiobook by the author/narrator/publisher and chose to review it.

2 people found this helpful

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I Was Hooked

Very good. The time jumps back and forth were a bit jarring at first, but once into the story I was there to stay. Great concepts, characters and story.

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very good

Liked it !! this story. the narrator is so fantastic it's like your really there!! good overall

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Bela Lugosi's Dead

I liked it,but found it confusing at times. Samuel E. Hoke was a fine narrator.I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Classic cinema and monsters - a fun listen!

Fans of both classic cinema and its monster crew will love this one! The author's done a great job of blending the old with the modern, bringing the famous monsters of the age into the current timeframe. The narrator is easy to listen to, with good pacing and characterizations.

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  • Kerry Bark
  • 07-27-21

An OK read but a bit chaotic

The story arcs work well but sometimes the jumps between characters were a bit messy and didn't always flow well. But the story and narration overall were pretty good. Just concentrate hard when you listen.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review