BOOK REVIEW / Bookshop Window: Where does kissing end? - Kate Pullinger: Serpent's Tail, pounds 7.99

Vampires are back in vogue, filling bookshelves and packing cinemas. Kate Pullinger's second novel uses the vampire's powerful sexuality to create a tale of obsession and danger. Mina, a bastard child of bastard parents, is a nymphomaniac from an early age. She meets Stephen, and they become lovers. But he is upset by her night-time absences, and muses that their love must inevitably be destructive: 'lovers are like parasites; they prey on each other.' He turns out to be right. While Mina thrives on her new fidelity, Stephen's health declines. Her change of morals is unconvincing, and the characters are ineffectual; what grabs you, however, is the sharply drawn fine line between desire and pain, around which their relationship hovers.