Despite its title this book is not about vampires. It's about three 16 year old friends and their fascination with visiting the upcoming vampire show. It has moments of gore but mainly it's a coming of age tale focusing on these young kids. The lusty thoughts which I've come to expect from a Laymon book, and which usually crack me up for their out of place silliness, fit these characters and added to the tension of the book. The book takes place in the 60's when drive-ins were much more commonplace and the whole book has the feel of a good scary drive-in movie. It begins when these three hike out to an abandoned field (and reputed to be the dumping ground of a serial killer) hoping to get a glimpse of the vampire before the crowds arrive. Instead they have a bad run-in with a mangy, possibly rabid dog and one of the kid's witnesses something she shouldn't and then weird things begin to happen and they suspect they're being taunted by the vampire folks. It's not until the very end of the book that the all out blood bath begins (and we learn some ugly things about some of our characters) but the tension leading up to it and the nice character study held my attention throughout it's 300+ pages. To date, this has been my favorite of all of the Laymon novels I've read.
This book is much different from other Richard Laymon books I have read, lacks the sex and gore typical of his books, and moves at a much slower, suspense-building pace. I absolutely loved it! It is hot, the summer of 1963, and three teenagers, Dwight, Rusty, and Slim, are anxious to see the one-night-only performance of The Traveling Vampire Show, which claims to have the only living vampire in captivity, Valeria, at the legendary Janks Field. As soon as they head out to Janks Field to get a sneak peak at Valeria, bad, mysterious things begin to happen. The entire story spans one long day, with occasional mention of past events to help better understand the three main characters, and ends with a bang. I highly recommend this book. It is one of my favorite Laymon reads to date, but if you prefer typical Laymon, you may not enjoy this one as much.
Wow! I REALLY enjoyed this book. So much so, that I stayed up WAY too late to finish it because it was just so suspenseful. I really like the writing style, not to mention the very-charming characters. And while not everything was explained, it somehow didn't bother me as much as it normally would... everything just worked. And the author is from Illinois!! I will DEFINITELY be keeping an eye out for other books by him!
This was my first book by Laymon - apparently he's much more famous in the UK, etc... than in the US.
It's a tense, well-written piece of horror fiction.
Plotwise, it's like a combination of Pet Sematary and Stand By Me, with a vampire carny thrown into the mix. (The more I think about it, the more parallels there are with both classics).
Three teens decide to sneak into an advertised 'vampire show' that's in town, which is to take place in a field with a bad reputation. When they go to check out the location, they find themselves treed by a rabid dog... and the day only gets worse from there, as they suspect that the sinister members of the show are stalking them...
Most of the book deals with the complex relationships between the teens - (the endlessly horny narrator, Dwight; Slim, a tough girl who's a survivor of abuse, and fat, untrustworthy but likable Rusty.... all of them may hold some dark secrets themselves....)
However, the ending is a sex-and-violence filled showdown that doesn't disappoint...
This was my introduction to Laymon's books and I was captured from the beginning. I could see the story as I was reading it and was horrified and enthralled when I was supposed to be. This is one of those books I would love to see developed into a movie, but fear they would not do it the justice that it deserves. A fantastic read - highly recommended.
After reading the PBS reviews, I had high expectations for this book. It was OK. It took too long to get to the good stuff, and I was disappointed in the ending. Overall, it is worth reading, but not one of my favorites.
THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW. Come and see - the one and only known VAMPIRE in captivity. - VALERIA - Gorgeous! Beguiling! Lethal!
This is a coming of age story. The entire story unfolds over the course of one day, and one long night. Three local teenagers desire nothing more than to see, `The Traveling Vampire Show.'
Richard Laymon writes with a fluid sense of ease, his prose flow effortlessly allowing the reader to feel comfortable within the world of his text. This allows for a quick and satisfying read. The character development is engrossing and charming. You learn to hate, as well as love the people you meet as the day slowly shifts to night. The subtle tension the author creates as the day proceeds is top-notch, but the payoff awaits the reader in the final chapters.
I have only read one other coming of age story that surpasses this one, "Boy's Life" by Robert McCammon. In my opinion, that really say's something about this book. For those of you who have read "Boy's Life" you'll definitely enjoy, The Traveling Vampire Show'
Another good laymon book.. not one of his scariest nor is it as violent as some of his other books...but still a good read. this one starts out slower than his usual books but really gets going. not vampire book really but more about young teens and lots of action.
the suspense builds in this one alot slower than most of his books. A good horror book and a good scare for late at night.
One thing I really like about Laymons writing is he really makes it feel like your there watching it all.. and he makes it feel as if your in the place of the main subject in the book. I have stayed up late many a night unable to put his books down because the action is so exciting I just cant leave off until I find out what happens! This one is not one of his most exciting but it will thrill you non the less... if you like his writing style you should like this book.
Three local teenagers, two boys and a girl, this is a show they can't miss. Even though the flyers say no one under eight-teen will be admitted, they're determined to find a way. What follows is a story of friendship and courage, temptation and terror, when three friends go where they shouldn't go, and find much more than they ever expected.
It's a hot August morning in 1963. All over the rural town of Grandville, tacked to power poles and trees, taped to store windows, flyers have appeared annoucing the one-night-only performance of the Traveling Vampire Show. The highlight of the show is the gorgeous Valeria the only living vampire in captivity.
For three local teenagers, two boys and a girl, this a show they can't miss. What follows is a story of friendship and courage, temption and terror, when three friends go where they shouldn't go and find far more than they ever expected.
This is my favorite story by Laymon.
It's a hot August morning in 1963. All over the rural town of Grandville, tacked to power poles and trees, taped to store windows, flyers have appeared announcing the one-night-only performance of The Traveling Vampire Show. The promised highlight of the show is the gorgeous Valeria, the only living vampire in captivity.
For three local teenagers, two boys and a girl, this is a show they can't miss. Even though the flyers say no one under eighteen will be admitted, they're determined to find a way. What follows is a story of friendship and courage, temptation and terror, when three friends go where they should'nt go, and find much more than they ever expected.
"The Traveling Vampire Show successfully blends nostalgia with gritty realism and outright Grand Guignol gore. Compulsively readable, it's a stripped-down page-turner that slowly builds to a bloody crescendo. Laymon is in absolute control throughout."
-Hank Wagner, Hellnotes
This was a new author for me, but I enjoyed his work. The book continued to build on the suspense, which did move rather slowly in the beginning, so that towards the end I could barely put it down.
The rest of the story contained more than just a horror though, and for me, that made the beginning or slower parts of the horror story better than they would be otherwise. For it's also a coming-of-age story, three teenagers&mdashtwo boys and a girl, and their struggles with friendship, loyalty, and even raging hormones. ;)