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Perdita Badon-Reed is exactly the sort of independent lady who would reject the matrimonial proposal of a perfectly good man, up sticks from Boston and begin a new life in Ste. Odile, that quaint French town on the Mississippi River. No, not that French river town — farther south. You got it. Now she plans to teach at an all-girls school and pursue a career as a sculptress — women in the 1880s were made of stern stuff. But does she have mettle enough to foil the plans of Orien Bastide, a cultured patrician fellow of Ste. Odile who's just a shade over 2,000 years old? Oh, drop the garlic already. Bastide isn't a vampire — he's host to a succubus that has been committing evil since the Roman days. John McFarland's novel The Black Garden is a loving homage to the horror thrillers of old, when men were men (despite the tuxedos and flowery verbiage), and women were women (despite the corsets and lack of suffrage), and the monsters went bump in the night instead of twinkling like a disco ball at the Laser Floyd show. McFarland reads a seasonally appropriate passage from The Black Garden at 7 p.m. this evening at Subterranean Books (6275 Delmar Boulevard; 314-862-6100 or www.subbooks.com). Admission is free, and signed copies of The Black Garden will be available for purchase.
Fri., Oct. 29, 2010

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