DEVIL BAT DIARY by Peter H. Brothers (2011 / 221 pp / tp)
This mock journal tells the "true" story of what happened in a small American town during the summer of 1939. The 1940 Bela Lugosi film THE DEVIL BAT was a watered-down version of these events, giving this book a "found footage" type of feel.
Chicago newspaper reporter Johnny Layton is sent to the small town of Heathville to get the scoop on the death of Ray Heath, an heir to a multi-million dollar cosmetics company. Johnny is partnered with ace photographer "One Shot" McGuire, a "big-mouthed weasel" who Johnny can't stand.
It turns out someone is trying to kill off the Heath and Morton families with large killer bats. The two clans are co-owners of the company, and Johnny Layton eventually discovers the bats attack those who wear a particular new brand of the companies' skin lotion.
Lugosi's character from the film, Mr. Carruthers, is here portrayed in a similar fashion, but some revelations on the "real" nature of other DEVIL BAT characters are quite funny.
DEVIL BAT DIARY is interesting for fans of the classic Lugosi film, but those not familiar with the source material might be put off by some of the goofy-sounding dialogue and an abundance of distracting slang (McGuire, Carruthers, and a local sheriff speak in heavy accents which the author spells out phonetically, which at times makes the prose a chore to sift through).
Flawed, but fun stuff for fans of classic monster movie fiction.