The Scribbled Victims tells a familiar tale of the vampire tradition in a way that’s different, emotionally compelling, and doesn’t shy from the horror of the vampire condition. I appreciate that Tomoguchi’s vampires need human blood to survive, though as the author shows, one cannot live on blood alone.
The story centers around vampire Yelena who still grieves the disappearance of her lover Marcel. This loss alienates her from much of the vampire community, and she seeks counseling from a human therapist, who is unaware of her true nature.
A chance meeting in a hospital between Yelena and a dying orphan girl changes both their lives. The twelve-year-old Orly has an ability to see the evil in people she draws as black scribbles on paper. This leads to a mutually-beneficial relationship where Orly provides Yelena victims for her bloodlust while receiving the maternal connection she has lacked much of her life.
As the mother-daughter bond grows, the limits of and the types of love is explored and tested. Can one without a conscience be truly capable of receiving love? What can love mean to one who is immortal?
A small detail that I enjoyed, and rarely see in other vampire stories, is that Tomoguchi’s vampires must rest in coffins. If they don’t, they suffer terribly.
The Scribbled Victims is the first in the Black Wax Trilogy and I look forward to reading the next installment.