Monday, July 06, 2015

The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman

You would think there isn't anything new to be said about vampires.  Between Buffy, Twilight, True Blood, Anne Rice and the countless other books, TV series and movies that have proliferated over the past 20 years, vampires would seem to be a dead end for a writer.

Not for Christopher Buehlman.  Buehlman, author of Between Two Fires and Those Across the River, has managed to make vampires scary again.

It is 1978, and Joey Peacock would be your typical New York City punk teen, spending his time clubbing and drinking.  Except what he's drinking is blood, and Joey is a lot older than he looks.  Joey is a vampire, and he maintains a low profile existence, feeding only enough from people to survive, but not kill.  He's part of a group of vampires that make their homes under the city, and they think they're basically the top of the food chain.

But they're really not.  One night, Joey sees a little girl and two small boys on the subway, just children on a train.  What he doesn't know is that his comfortable vampire world is about to go straight to hell.

The Lesser Dead  is compelling and unsettling.  The story is told through Joey's first person point of view.  He's oddly decent for a vampire, and the voice Buehlman gives him is very conversational in tone - this is a highly readable book.  No flowery Victorian language, no angst, no romantic subtext, just good old fashioned horror, and a very unexpected (to me, anyway) twist at the end.

If you appreciate creepy vampire stories, try Let Me In by John Lindqvist, or my personal favorite vampire book of all time, 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King.

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