Read The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp Online


Filled with characters as menacing as they are memorable, this chilling twist on vampire fiction packs a punch in the bestselling tradition of ’Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang, a vainglorious and well-established antiques dealer, has made a fortune over many years by globetrotting for the finest lost objects in the world. Only Sax knows the true secreFilled with characters as menacing as they are memorable, this chilling twist on vampire fiction packs a punch in the bestselling tradition of ’Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang, a vainglorious and well-established antiques dealer, has made a fortune over many years by globetrotting for the finest lost objects in the world. Only Sax knows the true secret to his success: at certain points of his life, he’s killed vampires for their priceless hoards of treasure.But now Sax’s past actions are quite literally coming back to haunt him, and the lives of those he holds most dear are in mortal danger. To counter this unnatural threat, and with the blessing of the Holy Roman Church, a cowardly but cunning Sax must travel across Europe in pursuit of incalculable evil—and immeasurable wealth—with a ragtag team of mercenaries and vampire killers to hunt a terrifying, ageless monster…one who is hunting Sax in turn.From author Ben Tripp, whose first horror novel Rise Again “raises the stakes so high that the book becomes nearly impossible to put down” (Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother), The Fifth House of the Heart is a powerful story that will haunt you long after its final pages....

Title : The Fifth House of the Heart
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781476782638
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Fifth House of the Heart Reviews

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    2019-02-23 08:59

    5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum the other day I was having this conversation with another blogger about what makes us give a book 5 stars. Admittedly, my own reasons can be pretty nebulous and oftentimes the finer details can differ from a lot of others’ “criteria”, but ultimately I think it always comes down to the question: Did the book blow my mind? Maybe the author impressed with some crazy unique ideas, or made me see something in a whole different light. Or maybe the book touched my emotions in some way, destroyed my feels and left me blubbering like an idiot.Or maybe sometimes, like in the case of The Fifth House of the Heart, the reasons don’t have to be either cerebral or emotional. Maybe I just want to give a book 5 stars because it was just so damn fucking fun. DEAL WITH IT!Seriously, though. Horror, humor, and a heist all in one? I couldn’t have asked for more. Say what you want about vampires being a tired old trope, but they can still be pretty terrifying, especially when you have an author who knows how to portray them like the monsters that they are—the way they’re meant to be. Next, throw in a motley group of mercenaries led by a septuagenarian antiquities dealer, our rather zany protagonist who is as motivated by his desire to rid the world of vampires as he is by the opportunity to get his hands on some of their priceless loot.For you see, vampires are as bad as dragons when it comes to hoarding; they have an obsession for the past as well as an eye for expensive, beautiful, and exquisitely crafted things. Unfortunately, they are also fiercely attached to their possessions and will guard them with as much fervor. This is precisely how Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang draws the attention of a vampire at an antiques auction, after barely winning a bidding war for an ormolu clock. But Sax is no stranger to vampires, having profited greatly from a couple of run-ins with them in the past. So when the clock is later stolen from his warehouse, leaving the watchman on duty brutally murdered, Sax knows only one thing can be responsible. Determined to settle the score, he travels to the Vatican to assemble a crack team of vampire hunters to counter this new threat—and hopefully to make another fortune while he’s at it.Everyone in this book is a character, in the sense that they all possess interesting and notable traits or personalities. First there’s Fra Paolo, the guileless monk admiringly described by the openly gay Sax as a dark, handsome young “piece of Italian beefcake.” Next is Min, a small innocuous-looking Korean woman who just happens to be one of the deadliest, most frighteningly accomplished vampire killers in the world–and the sanest one the Vatican could come up with on short notice. Rock is the team’s muscle, an ex-US Army Special Forces guy who is as rugged and strong as his name suggests. Gheorghe plays the role of the rogue, a Romanian burglar who moonlights as a street acrobat in between bank heists. Then there are the unwitting additions to the crew, those who just happened to fall into this deadly caper by happy circumstance: Nilu, the Bollywood actress who became a vampire victim; Emily, Sax’s concerned niece who trails her uncle to Europe; and finally, Abingdon the British blacksmith/professional jouster whose impeccable physique and devastatingly good looks make him popular with the ladies at Ren Faires all across the continent.Hard to imagine a more dubious or random group of people getting together to slay monsters, but there you are. But of course, the most interesting and entertaining one of all is Sax, the leader of this jolly band and the one who holds everyone together. Sax is one of the best protagonists I’ve read in years, a man of contrasts if I’ve ever seen one. I can’t decide whether he’s closer in type to the gentle elderly man who gives smiles to children in the park, or to the crotchety one who brandishes his cane at them from his porch yelling “Get off my lawn!” In truth, he’s probably both in equal parts.One thing is certain though: this novel owes a lot of its greatness to Sax. Certainly, his wry and wicked sense of humor is a huge part of it; I laughed and I laughed and I laughed. Throughout the book, Sax will say all sorts of scandalous or outrageously inappropriate things but you’ll still find yourself busting a gut without feeling too guilty about it because he reminds you of your 100-year-old eccentric grandpa. Plus, the guy has already survived two vampire attacks, and yet even now he’s preparing to charge headlong into another. RESPECT. I could only hope to be so spritely when I’m pushing eighty.You might have noticed by now that I haven’t talked much about the plot – and I’m not going to. Because as with most heist stories, the less you know about the novel before you read it the better. The less you know about the vampires in this book the better too, but I just want to say how much I loved Tripp’s return to the ruthless, bestial portrayal of these creatures while still giving it a refreshingly unique twist. The Fifth House of the Heart will remind you that vampires are monsters. They don’t love you. They want to kill you.So if you want some terrifyingly good entertainment, read this book. What an uproarious mix of thrills and chills! Needless to say, I enjoyed it thoroughly, from the first page to the last!

  • Bob Milne
    2019-03-02 03:43

    When it comes to a great read (as opposed to a good one), timing can be everything. I tend to be a somewhat moody reader, and there are times where I'll put something aside until I feel like I'm in the right mood for it. Such was the case with The Fifth House of the Heart. I started in on it back in July, and it just wasn't working for me, but gave it another shot last week . . . and was completely blown away.At the risk of sounding pretentious, this is just a marvelous read!Forget what you know about vampires or the urban fantasy genre, because Ben Tripp isn't interested in covering the tropes or playing to your expectations. This is a fiercely original horror-themed adventure that doesn't make the mistake of feeling like a deliberate attempt to subvert the genre. Instead, it comes across as a natural, fun sort of evolution of the original concept, one that rides the crimson wave of the character personalities.Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang, protagonist and narrator, is the heart of the novel - and a study in human contrasts. He's a kindly, greedy, cowardly old man who is fiercely protective of both his loves and his acquisitions. Sax is a man who trembles at the prospect of danger, but who stands tall in the face of it. He proudly embraces the stereotype of the gay antique dealer, but his honest flamboyance is also a means of compensating for the fact that he's too old to play the game of seduction. Sax has lived a long and lustful life, and enjoys dropping names of his celebrity conquests, but has been reduced to idle dreams and half-hearted teasing of his "piece of Italian beefcake." He's embarrassing, amusing, and very often exasperating, but he's also a sincerely good man who you can't help but befriend through the page.For a novel that's as much a horror story and vampire hunt as a tomb-raiding heist comedy, the supporting cast of characters are suitably diverse. Paolo is the young, innocent, virginal monk whom the Vatican assigns to help the old, sexually experienced gay man hunt down the vampire. Yes, it's a deliberately exaggerated odd couple scenario, but one that's . . . well, heart-warming and entertaining. Min is their Korean vampire killer with a tragic past, while Nilu is the Bollywood dancer (and vampire victim) with a tragic future. Rock is the gang's tough guy, a well-armed, well-muscled man who is far friendlier than his appearances would suggest, while Gheorghe is their hired thief, a Romanian burglar who is as cold and crass as you'd expect a man like Rock to be. Abingdon is a late-comer to the party, but he was a favorite character - "a drunken, sword-swinging medieval womanizer" who is as adept in the forge or on the field of mock battle as he is in bed. The only character who rang false for me was Emily, the impossibly beautiful, naive young niece of Sax who serves more as a plot device than a necessary member of the team.Although Sax may be about as far from an Indiana Jones or Dirk Pitt character as you can get, nobody raids a tomb (or haunted castle) as well as he does. The frantic, panicked chase through the booby-trapped mansion of the mysterious Madame Magnat-l’Étrange may be the most fun I've had in the pages of a book in years. Sax is all too aware of the clichés, and calls them out along the way, but that does nothing to protect them from the guillotine windows, crashing chandeliers, and hidden passageways. The excavation of Prince Křesomysl's underground lair is suspenseful, claustrophobic, terrifying - and gorgeous. The fully furnished cave mansion is such a cool sort of setting, completely out of place so deep underground, but the uncapped well and rushing swamp waters beneath are even more exciting to explore. Finally, the climactic infiltration, attack, and escape from the hilltop castle Mordstein in Germany offers up some of those intense, exciting moments of the novel. It's probably the most classic looking and feeling vampire lairs we encounter - at least until Tripp throws one last twist our way.I'd be remiss, of course, if I didn't say a few words about the vampires of Tripp's world. They are not just bloodthirsty, undead humans, but an older, primordial sort of monster that takes on the aspects of its food. Those who feed regularly upon humanity look and act the most human, but their gender is determined solely by those on who the feed - and can change over time if they switch their victim preferences. As for those locked away in subterranean tombs, denied access to humanity . . . well, they are the true monsters of the story. The spider vampire from Rock's past is absolutely terrifying, and if the idea of a giant toad vampire sounds amusing, then you haven't seen it bite off the heads of your friends and allies with a single snap of its mouth. Although they've no mortal origin or religious weakness, the watching, tracking, and extermination of the falls to a secret arm of the Catholic church - the Ordine dei Cavalieri Sacri dei Teutonici e dei Fiamminghi, Special Branch.From beginning to end, The Fifth House of the Heart is just a perfect novel that adeptly blends genres and mythologies. It's guaranteed not to be the novel you expect, and that's a big part of its charm. It's terrifying, humorous, adventurous, and charming, but most of all it's entertaining. Allow Sax to draw you into his tale, chuckle and gasp alongside him, and be sure to thank Tripp for the introduction.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins

  • Eon ♒Windrunner♒
    2019-03-19 09:47

    This book was an undulating wave.At times it crested the peaks with magnificent suspense and thrilling scares, but in between it just sort of wallowed in the troughs.Meet Asmodeus Saxon-Tang.Here’s the thing. I am, as is obvious, a homosexual. That is the least of my disqualifications, but it does cause the narrow-minded some discomfort. But there’s more to me than just that. I am, in addition, an unscrupulous, greedy, spiteful coward—with the scruples of a jackal and the reliability of a Renault 9. I’ll betray anybody for a profit. Judas wouldn’t have stood a chance against me; I’d have been down at the Pharisees’ office with a copy of Christ Jesus’s driving license for thirty pieces of copper, no questions asked. Any stories you’ve heard about some dashing vampire killer are absolute rubbish. Look at me. I can scarcely get across a room without widdling myself, let alone bung a spike through some bloodthirsty monster. Every single bit of the hard work on this job will be done by others. I won’t do a bloody thing. And afterward, when everyone else is dead, injured, and infected with plague, I’ll shove everything worth having in a couple of suitcases and off I’ll go. Not a glance backward. That’s who I am. “Yes,” said Paolo. “So I was told.”Sax was terribly offended. But at least he’d made his case. He’d gotten it all out there. Now Fra Paolo could bow out of any personal involvement, find Sax some proper assistants—meaning sociopathic mercenaries—and Sax could get on with the job. Sax found he was sweating. He fumbled out his handkerchief and wiped his face.“I see,” Sax said, when Fra Paolo failed to add just kidding.“I was told you are a bad man for this job. I was also told you are the only man for this job.”“Sax” is an antiques collector and finds himself at an auction, bidding too much for an ormolu clock, because someone else is driving up the price. Sax wins the the bid though, only to make an enemy. The enemy REALLY wants the clock. That enemy also turns out to be a vampire, and Asmodeus Saxon-Tang has had run-ins with vampires, twice before. He knows they are VERY. BAD. NEWS.When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares into you.He also knows, that once they have you in their sights, they do not forget about you. And so he assembles one of the weirdest teams ever in order to eliminate the vampire.MIN“This is Min Hee-Jin, from South Korea. She is our vampire killer,” Paolo said.“Is she not a trifle too small for the work?” Sax asked.“The bigger ones are all psychopaths, which you said was no good. She is very good,” Paolo said, as if enticing Sax to sample a morsel of cake. “She may be only this tall, but she’s killed four vampires.”GHEORGHEThe man in the next file was Gheorghe Vladimirescu, a Romanian burglar who also did bank heists, conducted strong-arm work for the Russian Mafia, and occasionally performed as a street acrobat.He was available because he happened to be in Italy under an assumed name, avoiding a conversation the Romanian authorities wished to have with him. The Vatican had better contacts than the police.ROCKThe next candidate was the paramilitary sort.“Did you find this chap at Central Casting?” Sax asked. The photograph revealed an umber-skinned man with immense muscles. His head was shaven and his skull had a rippled surface that telegraphed the convolutions of his brain. Manfield K. Rocksaw was his name, which Sax assumed had to be some kind of joke, and he had been with Special Forces in the United States Army. He was a Green Beret, or had been. Then he went freelance, following a disciplinary action when an examination of the details of the recent unpleasantness in the Middle East revealed he’d made some decisions contrary to the word, if not the spirit, of certain international treaties and conventions. He made no attempt to defend himself during the proceedings except to say, as was noted in the file, Shit rolls downhill.ABINGDONAbingdon answered the phone on the fifth ring, his voice muddy with sleep.“Oozat?” He coughed into the phone.“Asmodeus Saxon-Tang,” Sax said, and waited. There was a long pause.“Fuck me, mate, what dost this fucking ringaling portend?” Abingdon was delighted. Sax could hear it in his voice, genuine pleasure. Gratifying, of course, especially at 6:53 in the morning. There was a muffled female voice in the background on Abingdon’s end of the line. Abingdon said something back that Sax couldn’t make out, and then his attention was back on Sax.“Abingdon,” Sax began, as if to remind his listener who he was. “Still bucketing about on horses, shoving bits of wood at your enemies, and so forth?”“Living fucking history, that is, princess.” Abingdon was a rugged, active man. A professional jouster and blacksmith, he worked the circuit of European history–themed events. Sax had seen him in action, clad in jingling hauberk and plate and a great heavy helmet on the back of a big, wild-eyed horse, charging down the muddy tilt. He could handle a twelve-foot lance like it was a pencil. Biceps like pumpkins. He didn’t just shatter lances and hack his way through exhibition swordsmanship, either: when he wasn’t in the arena, he was making iron candlesticks and swords and flails in his portable forge. Tourists loved it. Steel weapons for the gents, huge sweating muscles in a leather apron for the ladies.FRA PAOLOThe monk explained simply that he was a servant of God, and it was his job to defeat the evil ones. It was only his specialty, like missionary work or beer brewing.And of course,SAXI’m here because this thing needs killing. After that, I expect to get paid.”And so this highly unlikely team of vampire killers set off to rid the world of some evil. Unfortunately, they soon discover that things are easier said than done and not all of them will be coming back. Vampires are tough bastards.“I about shit myself back there, running through the woods,” Rock said. “I was so scared, I was like a little baby. That ugly fucker came after us like the motherfuckin’ Terminator, man. You add a couple werewolves to the mix and I’m going home with my pride busted but my ass intact, you follow me? ’Cause this is just a job.As I stated, the story had some great moments, but I found myself dragging my feet in between these. The actual confrontations with the vampires, as well as the flashbacks to previous encounters were all superb, but every time they ended, it felt like being dumped back into the real world and out of the fantastical. Maybe I just love all out fantasy too much. Apart from the instances of nothing much happening, the book was funny, and horrific, and entertaining.Worth the read for me, but nothing to really write home about.

  • Marvin
    2019-03-12 05:39

    Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang is an aging antiques dealer who just outbid a woman on an over-priced antique clock in an auction. Later that night the clock is stolen and the watchman for Sax’s warehouse is murdered. Sax knows who wanted the clock and who would be willing to kill for it. Vampires! For Sax has tangled with them before. What he doesn’t know is why nor does he know that the particular vampire who would have a motive to steal it is the one who almost killed him before. Now Sax, despite his age and what he sees as having a natural cowardice tendency which is only beaten by his greed, will assemble a team and reclaim his prize even though he knows it may be the last thing he will do.That is the starting premise of The Fifth House of the Heart which may be one of best vampire novels in years. It is certainly a trifle different than the recent horde of undead fiction. Tripp has already had his fling recasting zombies in the unconventional Rise Again novels and he seems to want to do the same thing with vampires. The author‘s vampires are close enough to be familiar but have their own little variations that make them different and interesting. Tripp’s vampires are ancient, basically natural creatures who are practically ageless yet they are, for the most part, solitary and vicious with a vain urge to collect priceless relics of the past which explains why an antique dealer would risk his life pursuing them. Crosses and garlic do not work but Sax and his fellow vampire hunters have their own special arsenal to battle the creatures’ unique physiology. And therein lies the clue to the book’s title.But while Tripp’s take on vampires is intriguing, it is Saxon-Tang himself that pulls the story together. Sax is aging, vain, and a self-proclaimed coward. Yet his love for his work and his pronounced greed tempts him into putting his life at risk several times. It also places himself in the radar of the vampires. The third person narration is usually in the perspective of Sax so we gets a good perspective of his motives and his own conflictual views of his life and his goals. It is that conflict that drives his mission while he seeks out help from the Catholic Church, worries about his niece who seems to be the only person that can pull him out of his self-centered thoughts, and lusts after the young monk that the church orders to accompany him on his quest.The action in The Fifth House of the Heart is impeccable, moving at lightning speed. It is the best part of the book. Two scenes take place as flashbacks, one in 1965 and another in 1989. The rest of the book, and the climatic ending, takes place in present day. It is these very exciting parts of the novel that highlight one of the book’s weakness. Once the horror is done, much of the rest of the novel seems like set-ups for the thrills. We follow Sax’s journey and his collection of his team yet despite some very clever writing and dialog we yearn for the meaty parts. Except for the young monk Paolo, the rest of the team feels like filler.Fortunately when all is done and bled, there ends up more meat than fat. Sax may have flaws and be slightly sleazy but he is very clever and sometimes wise. He embodies us older people who are set in our ways yet still have room for improvement. I just hope I do not need to battle vampires to find that improvement. Overall The Fifth House of the Heart is a welcome addition to the vampire genre and if it tends to drag a little too much in parts for my taste, it is still a rollicking bloody epic of a story.

  • Jaksen
    2019-03-14 11:58

    Amazing. Utterly so. Enthralling. To the final page.I LOVE THIS BOOK. (I won it in a Goodreads giveaway and thank you thank you, Goodreads!)Okay, it's the story of Asmodeus Saxon-Tang (known as Sax), who's pushing seventy and feeling the limits most of us will at that age. Regardless, he's an antique dealer, an avaricious soul, and determined to pursue to the ends of the Earth the antiques, little gems, rarities, etc., which have given his long life meaning. Problem is this...Many of those little gems belong to vampires, and if anyone knows anything from reading 1001 vampire tales, you really don't want to tangle with vampires.Tripp has taken the vampire trope and pushed it up a couple of dozen notches. The classic elements are all there and these vampires are hideous, not the friendly sort that fall in love with feckless human maids (or youths.) (Omg I used the word 'youths' in a review.)Anyhow, tangled Sax gets, and drags into the fray several colorful, unique, totally non-stereotypical friends, allies and others. The writing, brilliant. The attention to detail, impeccable. I'd read this book again just to read the descriptions of vampires, French chateaus and antique furniture. There's violence and intrigue, mystery and atmosphere. I listened to classic Wolfsheim and Peter Heppner while reading this book. Just like Peter, this story races up and down. One moment you're gloomy, the next you're ignoring your kids' phone calls because you can't NOT read the next page...And the next, and the next. I loved Mr. Saxon-Tang. I adore him. He's a coward; he's brave. He's utterly REAL. I want to adore him again in another book. Please, Mr. Tripp!Five stars doesn't seem near enough! :D

  • Tammy
    2019-02-23 08:33

    The nitty-gritty: A stylish, horrifying and wryly humorous reading experience like no other.The weather that day was warm in the sunlight, cold in the shade. It had been a terrible summer in Manhattan, humid and wet; now the autumn was dry but feverish, with skies that seemed somehow the wrong color, lurid, like old nickel postcards of New England scenes. Winter would come eventually, and it would be ferocious.Sax wondered, without much emotion, if he would live to see the spring.Curious about Ben Tripp’s latest? Well, you should be. For those of you who like comparisons, I’m calling this one “Dracula meets Ocean’s Eleven.” The simplest way to describe it would be a heist story with vampires. But it’s so much more. The Fifth House of the Heart has officially risen to the top of my favorite books so far this year, and I would have to say it’s neck and neck with Daryl Gregory’s Afterparty at the moment.There are layers upon layers to this complex story, but here’s the basic plot. Asmodeus Saxon-Tang (or Sax for short) is a notorious antiques dealer who has made a name for himself amassing incredible wealth over the years, mostly by seeking out vampire lairs and stealing their treasures. But his latest acquisition, a French Napoleon ormolu clock, has earned him the unwanted attention of a very dangerous vampire, and Sax fears his days may be numbered. When the clock is stolen from his warehouse, he knows exactly who stole it: the dreaded vampire. Sax gathers together a motley crew of thieves and killers to track down the vampire, and the game is afoot.Oh, there is so much to talk about in this review! I’ve decided to abandon my regular format, and bring you my Top Ten Reasons To Read The Fifth House of the Heart instead:1. Sax.“I’ve been infected since nineteen hundred and sixty-five, mate,” Sax complained. “There’s more vampire junk in me than in Nosferatu’s underpants.”Sax is one of the most unique and enjoyable characters I’ve run across in a long time. He absolutely steals the show, and his wry humor and self-deprecating ways earned him a permanent home in my heart. Sax is a seventy-something unabashedly gay man, and despite his uncertain ability to keep an erection, he’s continually making titillating sexual comments. When he meets Fra Paolo, the young priest who joins the crew, he makes it his mission to seduce him. (Or at least that's what he tells himself.) Sax admits he’s a coward, despite all his adventures with vampires, and yet he’s willing to walk into danger in order to save his friends.2. The rest of the characters.Sax may steal the show, but the story wouldn't be nearly as interesting without the supporting characters. I absolutely loved the mismatched group of people he gathers together as his crew, to infiltrate the vampire’s lair: Paolo, the priest, who is lusting after Sax’s niece Emily; Min, the vampire killer, who has her own score to settle; Rock, the muscle, a big, bold and lovable hunk of man whose bravery is unmatched; Abingdon, the forger, who wants to sleep with everyone; and Gheorghe, the Romanian burglar. And more. Yes, it’s a big cast of characters, but somehow Tripp makes them all fit together.3. The writing.Ben Tripp is such a good writer he could probably convince the devil to let him go, were he ever to find himself trapped in Hell. There were so many times while I was reading that I wanted to grab someone and read out loud to them. I could honestly fill this review with quotes from the story, but I’d rather you discover (most of) them for yourself.4. The humor.I seriously laughed out loud more than I’ve ever laughed out loud before, while reading this book. Humor and timing go hand in hand, and Tripp has both down to a science. Sax had a way of stating the obvious that just worked for me every time. And Sax isn't the only character who made me chuckle. One of my favorite lines in the entire book—and there were a lot of them—was when Min is watching Abingdon forging weapons, wondering if she should sleep with him. She then observes that “He was just an erection with a man standing behind it.”5. The history.Tripp’s story spans not only the world—different scenes take place in Manhattan, Paris, England, Czechoslovakia, Mumbai and Rome—but centuries. We get to see Sax as a young man just making a name for himself, but Tripp takes us back even further, to the discovery of vampires in the Holy Land nearly a thousand years ago. I truly felt the weight of history while reading this book.6. The story construction.The Fifth House of the Heart is full of stories within stories within stories. Tripp leads the reader down a path that turns into a cave then falls down a rabbit hole. During his adventure in the present day, he remembers his dangerous encounters with two other vampires, one in 1965 and one in 1989, seamlessly tying everything neatly together. It was one of the most masterful displays of story building I’ve ever seen.7. The details.It was an odor Sax loved. It was the smell of ancient beauty, of things that needed bringing back to life. Gentle cleaning, damp sponges, white vinegar, beeswax and oil, new air, new eyes to gaze upon them: time itself leaves a skin on things, the way the air leaves sulfur on silver, turning it black. When that obscuring film is removed, the light in the heart of things radiates. The beauty, like some princess in a story by Perrault, awakens after a long sleep.By making Sax a collector of all things antique, Tripp has wonderful opportunities to describe incredible works of art, antique furniture and fixtures, and rare gems in loving detail. And I never got bored with these descriptions. In fact, I eagerly soaked it all up. I could visualize each item as Tripp described it, and I could tell these details were carefully and painstakingly researched. Before this book, I had no idea there were famous paintings that have been lost to the world, and now I want to know more! And wait until you read his descriptions of food…8. The name dropping.Because Sax is so well known and infamous in his own right, he’s met some very interesting people over the past fifty years, including George Harrison, Grace Slick, and Givenchy, to name a few. I loved the way he remembers each one fondly,9. The action.The story may start out slow and meandering, but watch out, because just when you least expect it, all hell breaks loose. The Fifth House of the Heart is a page-turner even before the action starts, so you can imagine how quickly you’ll be turning pages once the gang meets up with the vampires. And remember, this is a heist story, which means Sax and his friends are stealing stuff. And sometimes things go wrong, and then you get more action.10. The vampires.And yes, the vampires are terrifying. I loved Tripp’s take on them, because even though vampires have been reinvented thousands of times, he manages to come up with fresh ideas, including the only way to truly kill a vampire, which I’ll let you discover for yourself. (Hint: it has something to do with the title of the book.) You won’t find any handsome, brooding types here. These vamps are fast and strong and deadly. Oh, and they love to collect beautiful things, which makes them the perfect target for one very determined collector of antiques. There were times when I clearly felt the influence of Dracula, its atmospheric and slow creeping terror, but there were other times when the story felt completely new.If you read one horror story this year, I hope you'll read this one, because it's so much more than just a simple vampire tale. The Fifth House of the Heart is a feast of humor, beauty, terror and emotion. And blood, of course. Highly recommended.Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy. Quotes above were taken from an uncorrected proof and may differ in the final version of the book.This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy.

  • Emily
    2019-03-03 06:48

    This was actually a really good, original vampire novel. The main character, an antiques dealer who thinks he's a worse person than he is (although he is pretty greedy) was a different kind of protagonist for this kind of story, and I really liked him. Some of the other characters could have used more development, but the writing was still quite good, and I would read more by this author.

  • Book Riot Community
    2019-03-06 10:36

    This book is bloody good fun! Sax is a rich, successfully antiques dealer. What's his secret to finding some of the world's most amazing objects? He travels the world, killing vampires for their hoards of treasure. As you can image, the vampires don't appreciate it. And they've finally caught up with Sax. Now he's on the run for his life across Europe, joined by mercenaries and vampire killers, as he is hunted by the scariest vampire of them all. Creepy and exciting, The Fifth House is a perfect summer read for a hot night.Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books:

  • AnnaMaria MacNair
    2019-03-11 08:42

    WOW!! Gay, geriatric antique dealer who is also a vampire hunter? Sold! I love this fresh, original take on vampires and it definitely kept me interested. This book follows Sax, a relic procurer who gathers a motley crew to help him hunt a vampire who tried to outbid him at an auction and what happens from there is quite entertaining and also thrilling. Sax is quite the character, with his quirks and hilarious quips. His inner dialogue and daydreaming during his visit to the Vatican to compile a team to catch this vampire made me laugh so hard that I snorted. Don't get me wrong-This book also had gore and guts too and made me anxious to turn the page at times. The author wrote one hell of an entertaining and unique vampire book!

  • stormie
    2019-03-02 11:51

    the take on vampire mythos in tripp's book is a welcome relief from a genre often filled (especially as of recent) with emotionally fragile and effortlessly beautiful vampires--those who spend more time pondering existentialism than acting as the monsters they decry themselves to be.

  • Neil Nabbefeld
    2019-03-18 10:56

    Lots of great reviews here so I don't see the need to do that for y'all. Just pick it up and read it. Excellent mix of intelligent writing and take on the vampire/werewolf myths, fun quirky characters with a bit of nasty gore to keep it real.Would be awesome to read more about this from the writer but I feel satisfied.

  • Lynn Williams
    2019-02-20 11:29

    4 of 5 stars don’t know what in the wide wide world is going on but I seem to be on a roll with good books at the moment and Ben Tripp’s Fifth House of the Heart is no exception.The story revolves around a central character known as Asmodeus Saxon-Tang – thankfully everyone calls him Sax for short! Sax specialises in obtaining and selling antiques. This is a business that he not only excels at and has a huge store of knowledge that guides him to pick and choose which pieces are the best to acquire but he’s also grown filthy rich in the process and has gained a certain level of fame (or notoriety).At the start of the story Sax is bidding on an antique clock, a clock which whilst he started with fairly ambivalent feelings towards it is now growing in interest as he is matched bid for bid by an attractive newcomer who seems very anxious to make it’s purchase. Of course Sax wins the lot but in doing so he may have just bought himself some very unwelcome attention. Nonetheless he’s a bit puzzled as to why this rather unassuming clock seems to have generated such interest – well, he’s puzzled right up until somebody breaks into his warehouse and steals it from him, killing his night watchman in the process and giving him an unwelcome trip down memory lane and a cold jolt of realisation!Basically Sax is in danger. This is definitely a world in which monsters go bump in the night and the monsters in question are vampires. Fortunately – most people remain blissfully unaware of their existence as death usually follows swiftly on the heels of those who get wise to their existence. Vampires are solitary creatures. They tend to live very isolated existences locked in their mansions and chateaus, brimming with antiques and antiquities many of which are believed to have been lost to the world. They put you in mind of dragons, sitting atop their wealth, sleeping but always keeping one eye alert to possibilities.Now, realising his predicament Sax decides to take action – action being the best form of defence. He’s going to search out his predator but before doing so he pays his favourite niece a visit. He’s feeling a little guilty about potentially leaving her unprotected and wants to give her the heads up. Obviously she thinks he’s a little crazy but she listens to his stories and I’m so glad she did because they make for interesting reading. I won’t elaborate on them here other than to say they’re both different, set in different environments, totally compelling and both with vampires that appear to be entirely different in nature. The vampires here are unlike those in the myths we already know of. There is a thin veneer of similarity but there are also some very intriguing new developments – the biggest of which is that vampires are not the undead! Having regaled his niece with stories to give her nightmares and gifted her a strange object that turns out to be a vampire weapon he leaves. Sax is gathering about him a crew of mercenaries and having been granted permission by the Church and accompanied by a priest the ‘hunted’ is about to become the ‘hunter’. At least that’s what he hopes! Vampires tend to be one step ahead usually, they have all the time in the world so the end game is their ultimate goal.I really found this an entertaining read. I liked the characters – well, Sax in particular just steals the show. The surrounding cast are a little more flimsy but still provide good support and anyway it would be impossible to upstage Sax. Put simply he’s a flamboyant, outrageous and self absorbed man and an unashamed coward to boot.So, what did I really enjoy. Well, the writing is really good. Tripp manages to set the scene perfectly either from dusty chateau, damp and creepy cave to vampire laboratory! Yep, be intrigued. There are some great scenes where the mercenaries hide from hideous vampire hunters and a grand finale where the tension mounts and on top of this Tripp manages to inject humour here and there which prevents things becoming too heavy. Plus a twist at the end that I certainly didn’t see coming.A great mash up of olde worlde vampire a la Dracula, meets Indiana Jones (albeit wickedly flamboyant) surrounded by evil and assisted by a motley crew of odd misfits.There is definitely potential for more from this world and I seriously hope there will be further addition

  • Emilia
    2019-03-09 04:50

    There's a lot of good to be had in "The Fifth House of the Heart." The writing is pithy, the main character is absolutely charming in his curmudgeonly-ness, and the plot is interesting and unique as far as vampire hunting stories go.Asmodeous Saxon-Tang is a very interesting, well-rounded main character who, in his old age, embraces his cowardice and his desire for wealth as defining traits. When a recently purchased antique clock goes missing (and a night watchman dead from his warehouse) Sax begins an adventure to track down what or whomever is behind the theft and murder. The story takes us back and forth between the task at hand, and Sax's previous run-ins with treasure hoarding vampires. Occasionally we get chapters from the perspective of other characters, which don't really serve much purpose beyond plot. "Characterization?" you might suggest. No. And therein lies my biggest complaint with this novel.Sax is an excellent main character. He's multi-faceted-- detestable one minute and absolutely charming the next. No other character, except maybe Paolo (the priest sent by the Catholic church to help coordinate Sax's hunt,) is given even a quarter of the characterization of Sax. Mostly they're plot devices or easy archetypes. Even Paolo falls prey to being "easily embarrassed man of the cloth" from time to time. It was disappointing to me that in a book so obsessed with description and innovation, that almost every character is one I've seen before. While so much of the book felt new and fresh, a lot of the characters felt rehashed and a little lazy. Maybe it's just that they aren't given enough time to fully realize, or maybe it's just that they don't matter in the end. For whatever the reason, when I was 75% of the way through the book, I still felt like I didn't really care about anyone other than Sax. Only caring about one character makes the part in the story where all the characters decide to go do something dangerous a little boring. By the end, the tension just wasn't there for me and so the climax fell a little flat. While the book is clearly well-written, at least from a technical standpoint, and at times both fascinating and humorous, the lack of characterization and the pacing left something to be desired for me. If you like a one-character show and cool vampire lore (the idea of the literal "the fifth house of the heart" is awesome) then absolutely give this one a read. If you're looking for a book that's a more well-rounded experience, I'd pass.

  • Loren
    2019-03-09 10:31

    I adored this book, almost solely because of the main character. Asmodeus Saxon-Tang is a septuagenarian antiques dealer who dresses like Quentin Crisp and has led three expeditions to kill vampires. These aren't your sparkly broody vampires, either. In fact, they take Dracula a step farther. Sax undervalues the courage he shows, all the while remarking on the hotness of the killers he's assembled around him. He's the most fascinating character I've met in a long time.The only time the book was in danger of losing me was its first chapter, which concerns a Mumbai dancer in Bollywood movies. For one thing, I had trouble believing that a woman so concerned with being "ruined" would go alone to a party. For another, she seemed set up as a classic victim, someone you care about solely so she can be torn apart. I won't say that I became satisfied with her part in the story, but I am glad I looked past it to read the rest of the book.I could barely put the book down last night and it troubled my dreams. I actually got up early so that I could finish it this morning. That almost never happens to me any more.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-18 08:49

    Imagine that Indiana Jones is gay. And a bit of a coward. And yet hunts vampires for their treasure hoard, because his love/greed for highly valuable antiques sometimes overrides his cowardice. Ok? That's what this book is about. Had a few dry/rough spots (a bit tedious), but also some great horror action, along with a unique twist on vampire lore, in which vampires gradually take on the appearance of their most favoured (or just plain readily available) food source. A pretty good, and fairly easy read.

  • Terri Wino
    2019-02-17 08:56

    2.5 starsI really wanted to like this one. The parts that stuck with the horror aspect were gory and great. Everything in between was just, unfortunately, sooo boring to me.I wish I could say I enjoyed this one; it sounded like such a fantastic take on the vampire genre. Just didn't live up to my expectations.

  • Crowinator
    2019-02-19 04:47

    The summary on Goodreads likens this book to ‘Salem’s Lot, which seems to be a requirement for a book with a vampire in it and not an actual comparison having to do with story, character, mood, or language. I suppose it is scary at times, like ‘Salem’s Lot, but it is also hugely funny and heist-tacular (or how about caper-iffic?; yes, I made up these words). I picked up this book because it was the horror winner on the Reading List, an award picked by ALA librarians for outstanding genre works ( I’m not that into vampires (I prefer zombies or Lovecraftian creatures) but I LOVE heist stories, especially the flippant variety like Oceans Eleven (not the sequels, which are wretched). I love stories about thieves and con men and ambiguous heroes and I also love horror. There are not enough novels that combine horror, humor, and heists, as far as I’m concerned. Also, in the list of read-alikes for this novel, the committee suggested Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my favorite TV show, so how could I not read this? So, there is this elderly gay antiques dealer named Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang who is wealthy, worldly, always fashionably dressed, obsessed with beautiful objects, and snarky as all get out. (I picture Michael Caine in Miss Congeniality.) While he has an eye for spotting rare and valuable antiques and restoring them to life, he primarily made his money with a big score in his 20s, when he ran afoul of a vampire in a booby-trapped mansion, survived by his wits and some strategic cowardice, killed the vampire and then looted its hoard of priceless treasures. This windfall happened again years later in a vampire prince’s underground lair, except not by accident this time.“Right, those of you with guns and things, you go in first. I’ll keep lookout,” Sax commanded. He was standing at the mouth of the cave, pale December sunlight at his back. Nobody moved. “I hired you lot to do the heavy lifting,” he added. When the rest still didn’t move, he swore under his breath. Then he fixed them all with his manliest gaze, one after the other. It was clear they weren’t going into the cave without their feckless leader. He must act. He could almost smell the precious metals. So Sax marched into the chilly darkness, bold as pink buttons.At the start of this novel, Sax enters into a bidding war at an antiques auction with a mysterious beautiful woman over an ormolu clock. He wins by pure stubbornness, bidding far past the item’s actual value, but he learns that the clock has a hidden price tag when it’s later stolen from his warehouse, the night watchman murdered. After careful old-school research (no smart phone Googling for Sax!), Sax learns that the clock once belonged to a vampire based in Germany. Sax has a reputation to protect and a greed that is never satiated, so he petitions the Vatican (which oversees the eternal war against evil) for permission to take his revenge (and some more loot). The Vatican gives its permission and awards a gorgeous young priest, Fra Paolo, as an assistant. Sax was energized, he suspected, by the simple act of making something happen. Not everyone, after all, got the Vatican’s blessing to go out and look for a vampire’s hoard, and was given a piece of Italian beefcake to go along with it. Sax adds a motley assortment of criminals, mercenaries, and psychopaths to his team who strike a balance between being scary weird-o’s and oddly vulnerable, likable people. This is a horror novel at its heart, so it’s not at all assured that these people will survive, especially when his beautiful niece crashes the vampire hunting party and insists on helping. The story shifts back and forth between the present mission to Sax’s past battles with vampires in 1965 and 1989, which happen all over the globe. There is plenty of action and bloody gore, and unlike a lot of vampire novels, each confrontation with a vampire is totally different. In the lulls between the scary parts there is enough attention paid to setting up the caper plot and the characters that the story is never boring. Plus, Sax is such a delight that he could narrate anything and make it funny. Everything about him is vibrant, mercurial, and complicated. Tripp also has a cool vampire mythos going in this novel that I don’t want to spoil, but it’s a unique take on the origin and “reproduction” of these bestial creatures. Finally, Tripp’s writing is sprinkled with vivid descriptions and unexpected images that fit the place or character described, like “Jean-Marc broke off a small piece of a laugh and chewed on it,” or when Sax marches into the cave “bold as pink buttons”. And among all the scares and “heist-tacular” hijinks, there are some moments that put Sax’s obsession with the past and greed for beautiful things into a greater context:He could smell the musty air from within the chateau, now, a cool, dry scent of old dust, stone, and the exhalation of ancient wood.It was an odor Sax loved. It was the smell of ancient beauty, of things that needed bringing back to life. Gentle cleaning, damp sponges, white vinegar, beeswax and oil, new air, new eyes to gaze upon them: time itself leaves a skin on things, the way the air leaves sulfur on silver, turning it black. When that obscuring film is removed, the light in the heart of things radiates.I loved this odd horror novel and definitely need to look for Tripp’s zombie novels next.

  • Dragana
    2019-03-14 10:59

    If I was not, at the time, in a mood for some urban horror story, I probably would not have requested The Fifth House of the Heart. It’s not a typical type of book I like to read.LIKES * Mystery. Ben Tripp knows how to intrigue and tantalize you by throwing in facts and information. I always thought a was a breath away from solving the puzzle where are vampires hiding or what they are planning. * Vampires got revamped.Vampires are most common paranormal creatures in literature. Ben Tripp refashioned their myth and lore completely. There are enough similarities left with classic vampires, but Ben Tripp’s vampires are way more hideous and scary. * Humor. To kill a vampire, Sax assembles a weird group of quirky characters. The way they interacted was very entertaining. Don’t expect laugh-out-loud humor, but there were a lot of situations that made me chuckle. * Homosexual hero. I usually gravitate toward books with straight couples, so Sax was something new for me. Ben Tripp wrote his POV very well, without making it offensive, but still allowing us to feel how his mind works. When Sax gets a cute monk as a helper, his commentary about “a piece of Italian beefcake” (his descriptions not mine) made me chuckle. * Anti-hero. Sax is not brave or noble. Instead, he’s a coward who always looks for a way to make the others do all the dirty works, while he grabs the antiques and earns some cash. Sax reminded me of Stephen R. Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant, who is also worshiped as a savior while he only tries to go back home."I am, in addition, an unscrupulous, greedy, spiteful coward—with the scruples of a jackal and the reliability of a Renault 9. I’ll betray anybody for a profit. Judas wouldn’t have stood a chance against me; I’d have been down at the Pharisees’ office with a copy of Christ Jesus’s driving license for thirty pieces of copper, no questions asked. Any stories you’ve heard about some dashing vampire killer are absolute rubbish."DISLIKES * Tough and slow start. At the beginning, the narration meanders a lot and you don’t have a clue where the story is heading. As soon as I got intrigued, the POV would switch. It took about 40% of the book for the plot to get rolling. * Made me feel old. I know that this is my personal problem, but whenever I read a book with old heroes, I start feeling weary and tired of life. My back starts to hurt, I feel aches in my bones. If I was exposed to The Fifth House of the Heart a bit longer, I would have probably started to start saying things like: ‘Kids these days…’IN THE END…The Fifth House of the Heart turned out to be not as scary as a hoped, but it was amusing with new interesting vampire lore and charming anti-hero. I would recommend it to fans of thrillers with a dash of paranormal and bits of horror whom don’t mind having homosexual anti-hero as main character.Disclaimer: I received this ebook from Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review. This text is also posted on my blog Bookworm Dreams in a little bit more styled edition.

  • Rick Fisher
    2019-02-18 04:50

    Redemption for Ben Tripp.I enjoyed the premise and how it played out. It was entertainingly original. The flashbacks within the story thrilled me most. They were action packed and filled with wonderful details, as well as thrills and chills. Present day events were a little sluggish at times, until the climactic ending. I enjoyed the characters, especially Sax, Min and Rock. The entire cast was impressive. Usually, there are a few throw away characters. The ones the reader doesn't care about one way or the other. Mr. Tripp created a cast where everyone served the right purpose. So, if something unforeseen occurred to one of them, the loss is tangible to the reader. Happy to finally read a Ben Tripp novel that I can sing praises about. I wasn't a fan of the first novel of his I read, "Rise Again". So this one really surprised me. I almost didn't start it because the other one was so unimpressive. The synopsis of "The House of the Fifth Heart" grabbed me, along with the cover art. So glad I took the chance on this one.

  • Cecilia
    2019-03-14 07:33

    This book was a recommendation from my daughter. It is a great story with lots of interesting characters and twists in plot. I particularly liked the pace of the story, it seemed to sail along smoothly and then suddenly great bursts of action and excitement erupted. The main character is a 70ish gay antique collector and dealer living in New York, of course, who encounters vampires and other grisly creatures during his quest for great and rare antiques to be recovered anywhere in the world. There is enough detail in the description of each of the main characters to keep them interesting and enable the reader to follow their respective development and how they all blend into the enrichment of the plot.Descriptions in the final 50 pages of the book, as the quest for a particular object and vampire comes to a head, are intricate but not so unnecessarily detailed as to be boring. Really enjoyed this book

  • harlequin {Stephanie}
    2019-03-18 04:32

    Enjoyed the tales of his past adventures, I found myself getting lost in them like reading a story within a story. This was a distraction to the current drawn out present day events. Still, I enjoyed this. The author did a fine job telling the tale and carving characters. Special note: Author did a stupendous job on his vampires. An interesting take which was far from the average slick haired lothario we are use to.The three star rating comes from the time it took me to finish it. When I am deeply engrossed in a fictional world I will have my nose growing out of it every free moment til it's finished.

  • Maggie
    2019-03-01 11:32

    Fun & adventuresome romp. Not as terrifying as I wanted it to be--there were some instances towards the beginning (the first vampire encounter) where I was seriously creeped out & loving it. I wish the plot had maintained that sense of dread, but it kind of came and went. Quirky and interesting characters, made for some witty dialogue. There were one or two very minor plot conveniences, but I enjoyed the unfolding of the story so much that it wasn't a huge thing.

  • karvolf
    2019-03-11 05:48

    It took me a little while until i really got into this book, and for the life of my i can't figure out why because once it finally clicked i completely fell in love with it. For some reason the book just wasn't really working for me, i wasn't latching onto any of the characters, and our here, an old grumpy dude named Sax, was getting on my nerves. It all felt just a little too slow, something that doesn't usually bother me at all. Overall, i think i just wasn't in the proper mood when i started reading... And then everything fell into place all at once. Not sure exactly when it all clicked, but this quote here, from when Sax and a group of associates are entering a vampire's lair, sums it up well:"As the men moved in and began arguing over the easiest way to shift the stone, Sax rather elaborately realized he was in the way, and that one of his bootlaces needed tying, and so ended up off to one side and somewhat closer to the exit than anyone else, in roughly the pose of a sprinter at the starting blocks."And then Sax suddenly became exactly the kind of characters I adore reading about: he's cowardly and complains a lot, and he certainly seems much more motivated by money than by any proper moral fiber hidden somewhere deep in his body, but in the end he DOES want to do the right thing (partly because he feels that no one else will step in if he doesn't). And that impression followed me through the rest of the book, and the entire rest of it was a super fun ride. By the time our ragtag team of vampire hunters was assembled, i kept smiling at the tiniest moments and couldn't wait to see what sort of trouble they'd get into. On top of some really fun characters, this book also features a rather neat take on vampires, and some pretty cool lore! And would you look at that, turns out being asexual would give me a remarquable advantage in case of a vampire attack. That's nice to know.

  • Bonnie Owen
    2019-03-01 03:41

    This story kept my interest, although I did not care for the lead character at all. The story did drag at times, but I thought the depiction of the vampires as truly monsters was superb and each encounter with the vampires was quite thrilling (especially the flashback to the 1960s). The story follows Asmodeus Saxon-Tang, who is in the antiques trade and basically wants to steal the horde of vampires because they are the most valuable. He is completely selfish, ruled by greed and has others do the dirty work for him so he can just profit off the found treasure. The tables are turned when he piques the interest of a vampire by out-bidding on a item the vampire is trying to acquire......and the hunter, now has becomes the hunted.

  • Lynda
    2019-02-20 10:46

    Some things are great, some not so great. 2.75

  • Heather
    2019-02-17 09:36

    Incredibly entertaining and enthralling. Possibly the best vampire hunter novel I've ever read.

  • Mariel (TheCrownedGoddessReads)
    2019-02-28 05:32

    I was expecting more from the horror side, but it was enjoyable regardless.

  • Kristen
    2019-03-17 06:51

    There is so much I loved about this book, I am not even sure where to start to review it!As someone who's read A LOT of vampire books, I really thought I'd seen pretty much every permutation that could be conceived in the genre - I was SO SO WRONG! This book is incredibly creative, not only in the vampires and their abilities and behaviours, but also in the world the author created for them to run around causing havoc in. This book is a freaking thrill-ride of a roller-coaster and the action, suspense and surprises do not stop, right to the end. There were several points in the plot at which I was quite surprised at the direction the story turned down. If you like a fast-paced, super clever, action-based storyline with tons of sarcastic one-liners that will make you laugh out loud, check this out!And then, there is Sax. Where does one being to talk about our intrepid hero? So, if Indian Jones, instead of being a tall, dark and handsome action-hero, was a snippy old queen, who was also a cowardly, greedy, acquisitive antiques dealer who loved to get the best artifacts at the best price, while finding gorgeous, nubile young men to mess around with, AND who has the snarkiest, flat out funniest sense of the ridiculous and absolutely no shame or political correctness WHATSOEVER, therefore getting all the best, laugh-until-your-stomach-hurts lines you have ever read in a book, then you would have a sense of our hero, Asmodeus [named after a demon - need I say more?!] Saxon-Tang, or Sax for efficiency. This guy is absolutely in my top-10 best ever characters in fiction. I adored him from page one and only loved him more as all his bad habits expanded and caused trouble throughout the book.Here are a few of my favourite lines/conversations through the book [none of which are spoilers for the story]:"But then again if the castle was impregnable, it hardly mattered, did it? He wasn't going to get anything at all and neither was the Vatican. So the joke was on them. Much as the joke would probably be on him when the vampire tore him apart and it turned out there really were pearly gates in the clouds and Saint Whatsisname at the concierge's desk sent him down the back staircase to hell with a pitchfork up his bum.""You understand what's next, traditionally speaking," Sax murmured. " We wander around until we find what she wants us to find, and then she appears behind us without warning, makes a speech, and kills us both. So if we're going to do her in, it's got to be while she's making the speech."Mercenary: "What if she doesn't make the speech?" he whispered.Sax considered it. "Then shoot me first, will you?"Mercenary: "I surely will. You got me into this."When one of the female vampires tells Sax the name of her mate is En-Men-Lu-Ana, and later Sax is discussing said mate [who's in a kind of stasis] Sax says to her: "Your sister had her own lover in a box like that. You probably killed your boyfriends around the same time, am I right? And you regretted it. So you decided to reanimate old Be-Bop-A-Lula there . . ." Be-Bop-A-Lula?! OMG!! I am still laughing so hard at that line I could hardly type it!!And finally, when a Vatican secret agent tells Sax he had a 50 percent chance of surviving the treatment for a vampire bite, depending on how much of the infected vampire's matter was in his bloodstream, he answers: "I've been infected since nineteen hundred and sixt-five, mate," Sax complained. "There's more vampire junk in me than in Nosferatu's underpants."I could go on, but that would just ruin your own read of the book. Which you should absolutely go do immediately if you in any way enjoy smart, clever, sarcastic and action-packed vampire stories with a twist. This book is truly like no other vampire story I've read. The Anne Rice books come closest [there's a lot of fairly bloody violence, and a smattering of sexual innuendo] but Rice can't hold a candle to humour, intelligence and snappy repartee of Ben Tripp in writing the character of Asmodeus Saxon-Tang and his merry band of crazy vampire hunters. Plus, there's antiquing, and who doesn't love a good antiquing road-trip?! ;-)I loved everything about this book! I don't give five stars often, but this book earned every one of those stars. I would give this 10, 20, maybe even fifty stars if I could.

  • Anne Monteith
    2019-03-04 06:48

    These are not the vampires of Ward’s BDB or the sexy vampires of PNR’s; these are MONSTERS and many of them do not have many human characteristics. The only thing that they want is food and the treasures that they have accumulated and hoarded over centuries and they will do anything to recover items that are taken from them.Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang became aware of the monstrosities because of his career and his greed as he goes after a supposedly unclaimed and almost unknown collection of antiques. He barely survives the encounter and most of those with him did not; he vows never to tangle with or let another become aware of his existence; but over twenty years later he is unable to resist going after another treasure and he meets with another who truly brings truth to the phrase “you are what you eat”, and once again he vows never again.Now he is an old man and the only thing he loves more than the treasures and wealth he has accumulated is his niece Emily. One night at an auction of antiques he's bidding on a clock and winds up paying much more than the clock is worth as it is. Even with the knowledge and other items that he has related to the clock that are unknown t anyone other than himself he has still overpaid and he wonders why the woman was so determined to get the clock. Once he pays for he stores the clock in a warehouse he owns full of other antiques angry that he has paid too much to ever recover if he sells the device. One night he is awakened to the news that the warehouse has been broken into and the night watchman murdered. Arriving on the scene he is questioned by the police and it is easy to see that this wasn’t just a simple robbery and murder as nothing appears to be missing. The police ask him to see if he can determine if anything was taken, with great foreboding he goes to look for the clock and it is the only thing missing. Horrified he knows that there is nothing the police can do; he cannot tell them the truth; he tells them about the clock and those who were also interested in it, he knows that they will never find the woman that wanted it so badly. He leaves knowing that he is dealing with a vampire who is now of him. While he is not ready to die he is more worried that this creature will come after him and use his beloved Emily to do so. He is determined to do everything that he can to keep her safe. Despite being to old and feeble he must go after the vampire and destroy it before it can destroy him. Luckily his previous experiences have gained him some important and impressive contact that he can utilize to help him with this task.This book does not end in a cliffhanger, which makes me very happy, but, there is just enough of a hint at the ending to suggest that another book may follow and I will read it as soon as it does. I cannot recommend this book enough; while I post reviews I do not usually interrupt my reading to post things I highlight on Facebook like I did with this novel. I think that this is every bit as good as a Cronin’s Passage and like thin novel and Passage I think these novels could in time become as famous and well-known as Stoker’s Dracula and I urge readers to give this a try; I don’t think you will be disappointed. 5/5 STARS: **I want to thank the author and/or publisher for providing me with a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review; all opinions are mine.**

  • Daniel
    2019-03-05 03:40

    For fans of atmosphere and adventure stories with a paranormal twist, The Fifth House of the Heart is a marvelously fun summer read. This is one of those book equivalents to the summer blockbuster, and I could easily see it adapted as such for the screen. There is nothing particular intellectual to it, no grand social commentary, no character studies that pull at the heartstrings in explorations of the human psyche. What it does have is a well-told story that mixes horror with an international heist, using delightful characters and a dash of humor and gothic thrills.Imagine that vampires have existed among us, for generations of human lives. Sure, it's been done countless times before from Dracula to The Southern Vampire Mysteries. But what I haven't seen is combining the immortality of vampires with inspiration from PBS's Antiques Roadshow. If one could live for centuries, amass global fortunes, and horde goods like a dragon in your lair, just think what priceless antiques one could then collect through the ages to enjoy beside the coffin where you rest, decorating the castle where you lurk. Admired antiques dealer Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang has gained fortune and glory traveling all over the world acquiring some of the finest artifacts known, including items long lost to history. Sax's ego and success have been built through a secret edge: he knows that vampires exist and he has hunted and killed them to steal their ancient treasures. Now, late in his life, Sax's arrogance and greed has caught up to him. A powerful vampire from his past has set sights on Sax, putting his loved ones at risk. Together with a misfit team of thieves, vampire hunters, and a secret order of the Catholic church, Sax journeys to destroy the monster and gain one last score, into what may be a deadly trap for all. Part of what makes The Fifth House of the Heart work well is the point-of-view of Sax: one part crotchety old man, one part big softie. He has a great sense of humor, even within the deathly serious situations that face him. Filled with guilt over the luck of his past despite cowardice, he finds moments of bravery, bearing acceptance of his faults and pride for his strengths.I found Tripp's take on the vampire myth particularly fascinating though. The vampires of The Fifth House of the Heart only superficially resemble the 'classic' European creature. Ancient and strong, but not undead or easily killed by special weapons, they are monsters that begin to take on the characteristics of that which they consume. Those that feed on humans will appear human, according to the gender they favor as prey. Those that feed on other animals will take on that form. In a blend of vampire and shape-shifting myths, Tripp writes the vampires as something truly terrifying, creatures that shine in the horror and gore of some action scenes of the novel.There are many best-selling novels out there that are written primarily for their entertaining story and likable characters. Those in series tend to quickly become formulaic. Others remain popular despite unintentionally poor writing or scenarios that I think may actually lower a reader's intelligence. (cough, Dan Brown, cough) For all its fun, The Fifth House of the Heart remains smart. Like most of the books from another horror writer - a guy from Maine who everyone knows - Tripp's novel doesn't abandon the essential cores to the art of good writing, even though art is not its purpose at all.Aside from the plot, (anti?)-hero, and monsters at the novel's forefront, Tripp also nails so many of the background elements. The secondary characters, historical details, sensory descriptions, and general gothic atmosphere all combine contextually as a foundation for the entertaining story that towers above. This is a book that I look forward to rereading again soon.Disclaimer: I received a free advanced electronic reading copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review that first appeared at