By Tara Moss
POPULAR fiction writer Tara Moss has very cleverly jumped genres - from crime to a series of Pandora English vampire novels.
While many vampire books, such as Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, are aimed at adolescents, Moss' The Skeleton Key is pitched at your happy-go-lucky readers of Cleo or Cosmopolitan.
The 19-year-old heroine, Pandora, works for a fashion magazine in SoHo and lives with her great-aunt - who happens to be a witch - in a neo-Gothic pile permanently surrounded by mist. Pandora, too, is gifted with supernatural powers and is constantly being called on to use them to keep in order the stream of zombies, ghosts and vampires Moss has mustered up.
The story is pacy but there's enough background about vampire folklore and the fashion industry to keep it informative as well. And, of course, our heroine has a couple of love interests, including the ghost of a soldier from the American Civil War and a far more substantial Manhattan magnate.
By far the most attractive part of Moss' writing is the humour, which ensures neither she nor the reader takes the blood and fangs too seriously.
Two of the vampires are supermodels, and given Moss' previous incarnation as a model herself, she has obviously had lots of fun with that joke.
And just in case you meet a vampire, a sure-fire way to distract it, according to Moss, is to leave piles of rice lying around, as they have an insatiable desire to count. Yes! Remember Count von Count from Sesame Street, he couldn't help himself either.