The Travelling Vampire Show
by Richard Laymon
Category: Fiction / Horror
314 pages; ISBN: 0747220522
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Luke Croll
It`s August 1963 in a sleepy American town. There is not much to do for three teenagers with a lot of time on their hands, until they see a poster saying that a travelling vampire show is coming to town. Knowing that they are too young to be allowed in, they decide to go and watch the crew set up, not knowing that they are about to run into some very serious trouble.
The beauty of Laymon`s short novels is that they can be read very quickly, even in one sitting. Just like always, he doesn`t waste a lot of time with setting the scene and suchlike and it`s not long before his characters are caught up in a morass of bizarre occurrences relating to the Vampire Show. Speaking of his characters, they are rather thin simply because there is no need for him to flesh them out. He knows the functions that they have to perform and that is all they do.
I have to admit that it makes a change not to see a Laymon book that is full of swearing. Since he`s set it in 1963, swearing was apparently not done so much as it is not and the characters speak "reasonably" politely. It is interesting to see how the culture has changed from then to now. However, if you are a fan of Laymon`s somewhat sicker side of writing (sex, blood, guts, etc.), you will find that they are there, although mainly in thoughts rather than actions. Nevertheless, the sick level hots up as the book comes towards its climax, which is rather startling and will satisfy most people who will find themselves rooting for various characters throughout. He also leaves the ending open for interpretation. Sometimes this can be a good idea, other times it can be a bad idea. Here, I feel that it is quite easy to imagine what became of the different people.
Laymon`s prose is certainly not rich, but there is simply no need for it to be so. The majority of the novel is dialogue and action, he does not spend a lot of time describing or playing with words. He gives action and excitement, packing them into a small novel that will appeal to any of his existing fans. However, if you`re thinking of starting Laymon`s novels with this book, you should be aware that he can be a lot, lot sicker than what you will find here - `The Midnight Tour` springs to mind as one example, as does `Body Rides`.
For a horror novel, there is not exactly a lot of actual horror in here. It is more like a suspense thriller with a bit of horror thrown into the mix at the end. Nevertheless, if you are a horror fan, this latest Laymon could well be for you.
Buy The Travelling Vampire Show at amazon.co.uk
Buy The Travelling Vampire Show at amazon.com