On the way to work this morning I finished the best vampire story I have found in a good long while: Blood Libel, by Leigh Ann Hussey. Confirming my belief that young adult literature is always among the best written, I found this little gem in the aptly named anthology VAMPIRES, a collection of original stories for young people edited by Jane Yolen and Martin H. Greenberg.
Blood Libel is the story of a young rabbinical student in a small, unnamed European village pre-WWII who is bitten by a nosferatu one evening and wakes up in a coffin under the earth. What is a devoted student of the Torah to do when he discovers he has become one of the living dead? Read it and see. But print it out first, don't read it online. Read it in a listening mood, maybe even say a prayer before you read. I got shivers as I finished the story, with its different take on the territory that Joss Whedon made his own in the television series Angel - the vampire with a soul.
The author of Blood Libel, Leigh Ann Hussey, appears to be a member of a group called Elf Hill Music and Mayhem. I don't know anything about their music but intend to check them out.
A vampire tale in the same vein (haha) but not nearly so theologically sublime is the novel Midnight Mass by F. Paul Wilson. The two most interesting characters in Midnight Mass are a Hasidic rabbi and a Catholic priest. The parts of the book I liked best are the religious discussions between the two, and the attempt of the priest to discover if free will can hold out over blood lust after an individual is turned into a vampire. There is a grade-Z movie out there made with Wilson's collaboration by a New Jersey pal using that state's locales that I have not yet seen.