Hockey and Vampires. Who would’ve thought that these two could go so well together. I certainly didn’t, but author Steve Vernon crafted up a wonderful, quirky, sometimes violent story with Sudden Death Overtime, about a bunch of past their prime geezers, who love hockey and the vicious band of blood thirsty vampires, that crash the small town of Hope’s End, Labrador. If this sounds like something you would want to read (I can’t see how it couldn’t), read on to find out more…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from the back cover is as follows: Sprague Deacon is one of the toughest hockey players who ever skated upon a rink of hand-poured ice. Sprague was born and raised and he expects to die here on the Northern Labrador coast. What he did not expect was a tour bus full of vampires to pull into his town and begin lowering the population level – one corpse at a time. Sprague and his three best friends – an over-the-hill never-say quit bush league hockey team from Northern Labrador go toe-to-tooth with the vampires in a game of no-holds-barred hockey.
Sudden Death Overtime takes us on a quick journey, with a group of old Newfoundland geezers, by the names of Sprague, Fergus, Leo and Rufus. Their love of hockey is strong, even if their bodies are not. While this group of dusty old farts take part in cleaning up the rink for the kids, a mysterious black bus, full of blood thirsty vampires, rolls into town and starts luring people into the bus, never to be seen again. The vampires then precede to pick on the oldies and little do they know, they’ve made the worst decision in their immortal undead lives.
Look, I’m from the Maritimes and know several people from Newfoundland, so I highly enjoyed reading this story. I laughed along with the old geezers, with their quips and low opinions on the Mounties and their balls of steel, with deciding to go head to head with the vamps, the only way they know how, on the ice. Surprisingly enough, Sudden Death Overtime is also pretty damn violent at certain parts and doesn’t shy away from some foul language and gory details. Colour me quite surprised and delighted.
As for any complaints, I do have a couple. Due to the length of the story, their isn’t much in the way of back story (save for an interesting few chapters, dedicated to a tribe of warriors, who once fought vampires a long time ago). I think the book could’ve afforded a little more explanation on the vampires and the mysterious bus they drove. Also, I was let down by the rushed conclusion. I wish some more time was spent with the vamps wrecking havoc on the poor town of Hope’s End, instead of hurriedly rushing to the end.These are but small complaints though, as in the end I was fixed to each page, even if it was short.
Sudden Death Overtime brings back the vampires we all love. Their vicious, deadly and don’t sparkle in the damn sunlight! Thank god! The book will also have you cheering for the old guys, as they don’t know the meaning of run away. If you love hockey, vampires, Canada and a story that can be read in one sitting, while you hold a Tim’s coffee in your hand, Sudden Death Overtime will be the goal that will make you stand up and cheer.
Rating: 4/5 (-1 for not much in the way of back story and development on the uninvited vamps. +4 for a fun story, with some great loveable characters, a wicked sense of humor and some delightful gore.)
P.S The book also contains two short stories, titled Time Out and Smoke Signals. Both are about the allure of hockey and how ones love of the game and family will never die. Great stuff.