Thursday, November 5, 2015

Book Review: The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon

I can't remember where I stumbled across The Traveling Vampire Show Kindle Edition by Richard Laymon, but I'm glad I did.

File Size: 1178 KB
Print Length: 404 pages
ASIN: B0028T82EC
ISBN-10: 0843948507
ISBN-13: 978-0843948509

The story is set in the 1960s and told in the first person.  Our hero, his trusty sidekick, jeune première and supporting character all spend a tumultuous day chasing will-o'-the-wisps and fixing one problem after another so as to arrive at their final destination (or end of the line, depending on your perspective), a real live vampire show.  I wouldn't say the plot is fast paced, but it moves along fast enough to hold your interest.  Characters don't really develop as much as they unfold; we learn about the main characters as the story moves along, right up until the end.

This isn't a typical (or even an atypical) vampire story.  This is a horror story, more in line with Edgar Allen Poe or H.P. Lovecraft.  While the plot isn't complex enough to require you to take notes, it's a long, long way from the predictable, overly simplified horror stories you'll find in mainstream commercial press.  Think in terms of live stage on Broadway versus televised situation comedy, and you'll have a good feel for the book and where it will take you.

The author, Richard Laymon, didn't enjoy much success in the U.S., but they ate him up over in Jolly Old, and the neighboring countries kept him in champagne and fish eggs for his entire career.  Laymon was a prolific writer who is no longer with us, but plenty of his work is floating around on the used book sites and he's available for the Kindle at a very reasonable cost.

I rate this novel four stars out of five.  It kept me interested right up to the ending, which is handled extremely well.  I plan to read more work from the same author.

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