Kim Newman Anno Dracula: The Bloody Red Baron (Titan, 2002, First 1995)
The second in the Anno Dracula series was never posted here. I also edited the dead links to the other novels. Some days ago the new novel was published. Anno Dracula 1999: Daikaiju. This I will post later.
Like all of the Titan editions this had some extras. There is a new novella included, annotations and the outline for a movie Kim Newman did for Roger Corman. Anno Dracula 1923: Vampire Romance is a riff on Agatha Christie - or Downton Abbey, to keep it fresh - and spy novels. Vampire Geneviéve is working for the Diogenes Club again and accepts the invitation to a weekend party at Mildew Manor. Young and non-turned Lydia Inchfawn is terribly excited about the vampire guests, among them Liam Karnstein and Nezumi, a Japanese vampire girl who looks like thirteen but is a 1000 years old and a wandering samurai. Of course there are murders, bloodshed, monsters and the usual characters of the AD universe. Nezumi is the main character of AD 1999.
The main novel is Kim Newman's WWI tale. It is Edwin Winthrop on the western front, while Dracula is working for the Kaiser. Also somewhere in the trenches are vampire reporter Kate Reed and vampire Edgar Allan Poe. There are too many literary and movie characters to mention, in the first chapter there is a cameo by Elliott Spenser, the later Pinhead of the Hellraiser universe. Newman catches the atmosphere quite well, and again this predates Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentleman. If you like this kind of work, it works well. If you hate such concepts, not so much.
I don't 'hate' the concept, but couldn't get into 'The Bloody Red Baron' at all, abandoned it after maybe 1000 pages (or that's what it felt like) and returned it to the library. Not sure I've finished any of the Anno Dracula books since the first one, which I enjoyed (shock of the new?), reminded me a little of something Karl E. Wagner might come up with except he'd have known where to stop - Newman's books sometimes strike me as a d*rk f*nt*sy equivalent of stadium rock. That said, I'm a fan of several of his shorts and novellas like Pitbull Brittan from Famous Monsters and much of the Where the Bodies Are Buried series (especially the one featuring the 'monster nurse.')
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.