Monday, October 26, 2009

Book Review: The Travelling Vampire Show

On Saturday I saw the film "Cirque de Freak: The Vampire's Assistant," in which a young boy goes to a shady travelling carnival, meets up with vampires and has his entire life changed. The movie was pretty good, and incidentally, I totally bought John C. Reilly as a vampire. Overall it was a great flick for me to enjoy with my vampire loving 12-year-old. When I think about stories involving travelling vampire shows for myself, I've got to admit, my personal favourite is definitely Richard Laymon's The Travelling Vampire Show.

The Story itself focuses on three young kids, Dwight - our narrator, Slim - his tomboy love-interest, and Rusty - his best friend. The novel is set in 1963 and has a very nostalgic vibe throughout. Basically the three teens hear about this upcoming show, try to sneak an early peak with unfortunate results, and the show itself, featuring a very sexual vampire called Valeria, ends up being the climax of the book. The whole books balances expertly between a nostalgic look at being 16 and a horrific look at the actions surrounding the show - the violence is pretty extreme. I guess this may not be your grandmothers travelling vampire show book.

Richard Laymon (pictured right) died at age 54 of a heart attack in 2001. His works, although critically praised here (both Stephen King and Dean Koontz were fans), were most popular in Europe. I haven't read anything else by him yet, but this novel, along with David Morrell's Creepers, was one of the best unheard of titles I found while reading the Bram Stoker Awards.

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