Book Review: Dracul by J.D. Barker & Dacre Stoker

J.D. Barker who wrote the fabulous The Fourth Monkey pairs up with Dacre Stoker and pens a more than decent Dracula prequel.

Dracul by J.D. Barker & Dacre Stoker

Released October 2018

Dark Fiction  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon 

Source: Purchased from Audible
The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula's true origins but Bram Stoker's--and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life. Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here ...

A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents' Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone. When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen--a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives. Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen--and that the nightmare they've thought long ended is only beginning.

A riveting novel of gothic suspense, Dracul reveals not only Dracula's true origin, but Bram Stoker's---and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

My 2 Cents For Free!

This is the prequel to Dracula and it was inspired by notes and other tidbits Stoker left behind. I wasn’t sure what to expect and went in blind to what the actual story-line was about which, if you ask me, is often the best way to go into a book. That way it’s all a surprise. It could be a pleasant surprise or a dreadful one depending on the book. This one was a bit of both, haha (but dreadful in the best of ways). The Horror Aficionados group read this together. Click here to read everyone’s thoughts.

I’ll tell you a little but not too much about the plot because I think you should all go in blind too and allow the tale to unfold. Dracul tells the story of a young Bram Stoker and his siblings. Set in the 1800’s when Bram is an ill little boy being cared for “Nana” Ellen because his mom is overwhelmed. Nana Ellen was hired without anyone checking into her background. And you know that means something weird is bound to happen, right? Cue the creepy music because the creepy is coming and once it starts it doesn’t let up!

After a strange event occurs, Bram and Matilda start to snooping. And I’m just going to interrupt my review here to say that I adored Bram’s sister Matilda. It would’ve been amazing if the story had been told mostly from her POV because she is feisty and smart and nosey as hell and she asks all the best questions. But it’s told from several POV’s and that’s ok too because it’s a good story. Anyhow, the snooping of course leads to more snooping and the discovery of many odd things. None of which I am going to disclose.

With that said, if you’ve read Dracula or seen any vampire film, you’ll likely have an inkling and some insight into what’s going on here but it’s the telling that is all the fun. It’s descriptive and gruesome and the atmosphere is done just right. It digs right down into the dirt and worms and throws you in there, setting up some truly squirmy scenes that will crawl into your brain and settle in – maybe permanently. I love it when a book is able to do that to me.

I listened to Dracul as an unabridged audiobook with a host of different narrators and instead of distracting me as this sort of thing sometimes does, the six (I think there were six but am too lazy to look it up) narrators helped me quickly place who was speaking and let me know which timeline we were currently in. The tale does skip around in time and I am the type who is easily confused but not so in this case. I fell into this story from the very beginning and only wish I could’ve listened to it all in one sitting but it’s over 16 hours long! Even I can’t hide from life that long no matter how hard I might try because they always find me.

And my favorite quote comes from Matilda (of course!):

“If you won’t dig it up I will.”

Read it. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

I purchased this audio from All thoughts are my own.

4 out of 5


  1. I've always wanted to read this one. I've always had a slight fascination with Dracula - go figure right? Great review.

  2. "because they always find me" lol. Right? Why can't people let us readddd? Ha ha seriously though this sounds awesome. Definitely adding this!

    1. Seriously, right? Even when I hide outside they come and find me!

  3. Wow, this sounds good. I remember when this came out and thought I'd like to read it. I'm glad you reminded me of it😁

    1. I know, right? I hear about all of these great books I want to read and then I forget.

  4. Oh that sounds good. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

  5. i love vampires, so this one is for me
    sherry @ fundinmental

  6. I think I pre-ordered this audiobook but haven't listened to it yet. I think I started it once and then realized I wasn't in the mood for it. I haven't read Dracula yet so maybe I should start there? I am glad to see that you liked it!

    1. It gets really good. I'd definitely give it another go if I were you. I don't think it's necessary to read Dracula first.

  7. I need to add this to my TBR!! Awesome review.

  8. I have this one on my e-reader though it could be a while before I get to it.


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