Saturday, January 07, 2012

So many terrible vampire novels--here's a GREAT one


Maybe I hate so many vampire novels because I know how good the great ones are. I've practically memorized I Am Legend and the same for Salem's Lot. And the same for the-too-seldom mentioned Live Girls by Ray Garton.

I don’t know how many times I’ve reviewed LIVE GIRLS by Ray Garton but I'm going to keep pushing it until every lawn in America has a big sign stating: WE OWN A COPY OF LIVE GIRLS! There'll come a day when you'll be put under house arrest and forced to listen to Rick Santorum discuss his sex tips ten hours a day if you don't have that sign.

What Garton has done is take the tropes of the vampire novel and sexualize them in a way that would have been impossible a quarter century ago. This is a raunchy, gritty, sometimes hilarious and always spellbinding novel set in the universe most of us inhabit. At least most of the time – bosses, lovers, budgets, relatives, etc. Where we depart company with the protagonist is when he starts going to live porn shows and, baby, that’s when he starts the long, dark slide into several kinds of death.

Garton nails every character. For all the cult praise laid upon the novel, I’ve never seen anybody talk about its people. They’re great. A few of them I’ve never seen before anywhere and I don’t mean just the vampires. Even the walk-ons have the stink and sass of real people – not necessarily people I’d like to have lunch with, you understand, but real nonetheless. And the writing is sleek and efficient and vivid enough to rattle your dentures in places.

The other thing Garton does is make the sex here both truly seductive and truly scary. You think AIDS is scary? Wait ’til you meet this crew. This is one of the novels I give mystery readers who are leery of horror. It usually meets with effusive approval.
This is one you’ve got to pick up.

So how soon will YOUR yard sign be going up?

3 comments:

D.A. Trappert said...

My yard sign is up! I read this when it first came out and was amazed. It is just about perfect. Some of Garton's other books are pretty good, too, but I don't think he has ever topped this one. I remember giving Live Girls to both my brothers to read--it was that good.

Bill Crider said...

I have two copies.

Janis Gore said...

I read the first chapter and was caught. I bought it on Kindle. Does that count?