Forgotten Books: Live Girls
Live Girls isn't exactly forgotten but given the enormous popularity of erotic vampire fiction today it is terribly overlooked. It's my fourth favorite vampire novel in fact, right behind Dracula, I Am Legend and Salem's Lot. And it is as original and startling as any of the first three.
This is a two-track story for a portion of the book. Walter Benedek finds his sister and brother-in-law ripped apart in their apartment. Hard to believe a human could have done this. He begins to look into the background of his brother-in-law and discovers that the man spent a lot of time at a strange sex joint called Live Girls.
At the same time Davey Owen, a young man working for a trashy magazine, gets fired and loses his girl. He begins to come to apart, ultimately drifting into a peep show at Live Girl's. Garton creates some of the most powerfully erotic and threatening images of sex I've ever read. The sex is so compelling you almost forget the sinister atmosphere of the place. The book was originally published in 1987 and the plague of AIDs that killed so many permeates the atmosphere.
Davey's life begins to change after a single visit to the club. He will return many, many times.
The novel is by turns witty (Garton's take on low-brow publishing is very funny), creepy (Garton really puts you in the narrow filthy hallways and basement of Live Girls) and moving because Garton has made you care about his characters and their fate really matters to you.
This is urban horror at its nastiest and pulp fiction at its best.