I love the blog The Groovy Age of Horror because it's like a stroll through a great used bookshop. Some stores are cropping up at strip shopping centers these days, filled with books that were at Borders or Barnes and Noble five minutes ago. Those are nice for a bargain, but they're not as prone to offer some creased and dog-eared gem you've never heard of.
I love finding used bookshops that have been around forever and boast obscure works, especially in the genre sections.
Groovy Age reveals such lost treasures from obscure publishers like Lancer. You can almost smell that musty paperback smell. Actually I can smell that smell because my office is filled with old paperbacks.
Sometimes Groovy Age spotlights quirky greats that never had a marketing budget to push them into wide awareness. There's also complete crap, the so-bad-it's-good stuff.
The Dracula horror series
Groovy Age has a whole section devoted to one of my favorite series of horror paperbacks, which I read back when I was living through the '70s. That's the Dracula horror series written by Robert Lory. We have lots of vampire detective series today, but back in the day the Lord of the Undead was a crimebuster. Unwillingly, but still…
The series was published by Pinnacle--later, under new ownership to become the publisher of much of my work--and it came out at a time when articles about the true Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, were first gaining popular attention. It must have seemed like the perfect time for new Dracula adventures.
Pinnacle was still devoted to genre series at that time, and they were a major outlet for book packager Lyle Kenyon Engle who did the preliminary outlines that a host of writers turned into novels and series. He re-launched the dime novel Nick Carter series in a '70s setting and had books in many other genres, even a deep-sea adventure series called The Aquanauts.
Robert Lory, a science fiction writer, actually penned the Drac novels.
Harmon vs. Harvey
The series revolves around Prof. Damien Harmon who resurrects the Count in the present day of 1974. As the books begin, Drac is still resting, that is to say dead dead vs undead, after the action of the Stoker novel. But Harmon - who was paralyzed in an attack as a young policeman--unstakes him. Not before he puts a sliver of the stake in a device in the Count's chest, however.
Harmon's psychic ability allows him to trigger the device at will and drive the stake back into Drac's dark heart if necessary i.e. when he isn’t cooperating and crimebusting. Thus Harmon’s able to bend Drac to his will.
The two are helped by Harmon’s assistant Cameron Sanchez and by the mystery woman Katara, whom the Count brings to the picture. In the back of some Pinnacle titles of the day, ads probably based on the original Engle outline touted the series featuring Prof. Charles Harvey and his assistant Eric Fromann.
No pulp please, we're waiting for disco
We didn't have pulp magazines when I was a kid, so things like the Drac series and other 95 cent paperbacks were the next best thing. They were a step up from comic books and a bridge to weightier novels.They were a great stimulant for my imagination. My favorite of the books at least back in the day was "The Hand of Dracula." You can read a synopsis and review of each title over at Groovy Age, and they're certainly some fun, light reads. You can probably find them online or in the musty corners of some used bookstores.