Fun read: Wisconsin Vamp by Scott Burtness

I am always always on the lookout for a book that makes me laugh, particularly if it falls into any category of the supernatural. And alas, I have found another!

So, let’s talk about Wisconsin Vamp: Book 1 in the Monsters in the Midwest series.

vampWisconsin Vamp is the story of Herb Knudsen, a short-order cook in a Wisconsin truck stop who becomes a vampire after accidentally swallowing a mosquito that bit a New Orleans vampire, then hitched a ride up north in a briefcase.

Herb, up until this point, has had an unexceptional life. He’s completely forgettable. Most people don’t remember his name, even though he’s lived in the same small town his entire life. He’s overshadowed by his loud, tall, confident and handsome best friend. Herb has a crush on the hot waitress at the diner, who mostly ignores him. Herb, like all proper small town midwesterners, spends his weekends bowling.

Then he becomes a vampire, and lives basically the same life, only now things actually start to go well for him. Okay, apart from nearly bursting into flames in sunlight, or burning up at a church bake sale, and being so darned thirsty all the time but too nice to actually kill anyone.  Herb’s life has actually improved since he turned into a creature of the night. At least for a while.

Plotwise, I’m going to stop there, for fear of spoilers.

In the interest of full disclosure here, I almost DID NOT make it through the first chapter. The bad New Orleans accent at the very beginning was nearly unbearable for me. I spent eleven years in New Orleans, and the accent there sounds way more like Brooklyn than the swampy Cajun mush mouth you hear on television. People do not sprinkle French words into their sentences. Not in New Orleans…END RANT. Now–ahem–I will forgive. You wouldn’t really know this unless you have spent a lot of time in the Crescent City.  Anyway, I decided to keep reading, and I am SO GLAD I did because, after that, this book hit all the marks for me.

It’s very well written. Scott is not a hack. He knows how to write. He also nails the whole Wisconsin thing. Here’s a shout out to all authors who capture the essence of life in the rural Midwest, as well as the phenomenon known as “Midwest Nice.” Herb, even as a vampire, is the embodiment of Midwest Nice. (Y’all who grew up here know what I’m talking about. Midwest Nice is rivaled only by Mormon Nice, IMHO.)

I loved the book, even if I was a little sad about the ending. I will definitely be picking up book 2 Northwoods Wolfman (Monsters in the Midwest Book 2)

Even though I really want to skip ahead, just because the cover and title of book three crack me up. I mean. come on. Undead Cheesehead? What’s not to love?

So yes. A high five to another author who rocked a monster book set in the Midwest. Oh yeah. There’s some awesome monster madness happening in the flyover zone!


D.M. Guay writes supernatural fiction. Her latest novel,  24/7 Demon Mart: The Graveyard Shift is out now. Follow her on Bookbub for new release alerts and book recommendations.

One thought on “Fun read: Wisconsin Vamp by Scott Burtness

  1. Nancy Clark says:

    If you liked this, you’ll enjoy “Bill the Vampire” first in the Tombs of Bill series by Rick Gualtieri. Laugh out loud Funny! I enjoyed the entire series and wait for more.


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