The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon

next up for the Laymon reviews is The Traveling Vampire Show

this was the last book I think that was published before his death in 2001 and he actually post-humorously won a “Bram Stoker Award” for it (which I’m guessing is rewards for Vampire novels?)

it’s set in 1963 and follows 3 16 year old friends, a guy named Dwight, a Gal nicknamed Slim and a chubby horndog named Rusty

one day all over their town they find posters for “The Traveling Vampire Show” a carnival like show featuring “the only known Vampire in captivity”, a sexy Transylvania babe named Valeria (does that rhyme with Malaria?)

it’s being held at an abandoned field with a spooky past and the teenagers are obviously curious about, but are too young to see (18 and over), what are they gonna do?

to be honest the novel is a bit slow, surprisingly the titular Vampire Show is actually the finale of the book and everything else is just leading up to it

this is fine because it gives you time to get to know the characters, but the novel does at times feels like it’s just spinning it’s wheels, it’s never boring though mind you

however when it reaches it’s finale is when the novel really kicks into high gear and becomes freakin’ awesome

I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s Laymon at his best, a mixture of gore, sex and tension, just what the doctor ordered!

the 1963 setting is mostly just window dressing to set the novel apart from Laymon’s other works, there’s plenty of cultural references you don’t get that melancholic nostalgic feel you get from Stephen King works like IT or The Body , but mostly I think the setting is there to make this mysterious show more believable

bottom line the novel is a little slow to start, but the finale is some of the best work Laymon has ever done, I say check it out


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