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By M. Childers on 05-30-18
Not really about Vampires. Great title though.
I am trying to find a way to rate this book with out coming off as a complete prude. For me this was almost a DNF a couple of times due to intense dislike of certain characters. Which itself could be a compliment to the vivid richness of Layton's writing. This is not really a horror novel, it does have some suspense, mildly scary scenes with a few gory descriptions.
It is more, a really seamy coming of age novel about 3 small town teens who develop a fascination and obsession with the Traveling Vampire show and its entourage which includes the mysterious vampire Valeria. The traveling vampire show is a traveling side show that turns out to be a showcase for Valeria in a sort of wrestling cage match forum.
There is Dwight, who is obsessive about sex, his bestie, teen tomboy Slim, AND his pretty sister in law Lee. Dwight spends pretty much every waking moment having sexual thoughts and fantasies about both females. And some of his fantasies are somewhat disturbing and didn't strike me as normal, veering off into strange bondage murder porn. Umm weird.
Even though for the most part Dwight was an ok kid, I never did develop much liking for his character.
There is Slim, who is the best character in the story, an awesome tomboy, pretty, super smart, well read with lots of practical street saavy as well. There are hints that Slim has been abused or molested, but no actual revelation.
Then there is Rusty who is the third member of the trio. I don't think I have every hated anyone who was just a fictional character on a page before, as much as I hated this guy and his gross whiney sister Bitsy.
There are not enough adjective in the dictionary to describe this nasty, lewd, indecent boy. My gut reaction to him was stomach roiling hatred. I hated him so much that a couple of times I actually almost stopped listening to this audiobook.
At the end, ole Rusty got what he deserved. And I could never, ever understand why Dwight or Slim would want to be friends with this crude, rude awful person.
All in all, this coming of age story did evoke strong emotion, just not sure it was the emotion that the theme and plot of the story intended. There was some interesting elements of suspense surrounding the traveling troop, and their possible nefarious actions that were intriging, but the mystery of the story wasn't strong enough for me to be fully captivated.
I did end up listening to the entire audiobook, and the final few minutes were pretty good, and I was happy that the "bad guys" mostly got their just desserts. I am left saying I am not sure if I liked this story or really hated it. I don't know if I can discern the difference. Good writing, strange peculiar story.
Bob Barnes narration was excellent. He brought this story and characters to brilliant colorful life.