Top critical review
A HUGE blunder...
on June 26, 2001
I got hooked into Richard Laymon while reading a few chapters of his book "After Midnight" on the web. As "The Traveling Vampire Show" was his most recent publication, I picked it up with high expectations.
"The Traveling Vampire Show" reminded me of a college Freshman's final exam from Creative Writing 101. This is a perfect example of a wonderful premise gone terribly wrong. Anyone who has read "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury, or Stephen King's short story "The Body," knows that it is possible to portray young people 'coming of age' in the midst of a horrible and terrifying situation, in an interesting and stylish way. Unfortunately Richard Laymon misses by a mile.
To start, the dialog is extremely annoying. Anyone facing fear the way the main characters did, would most certainly not be cracking stupid jokes...non stop. I know how teenagers behave because I used to be one.
Second, the plot was only barely tolerable. Each time you thought something exciting was about to happen, you find out it was nothing. Any fan of horror fiction or movies knows that the opposite works fine; you think everything is ok, only to find out that it isn't. Apparently Richard Laymon was trying to be clever by doing the switching the formula around, which could have worked under different circumstances. However, he only succeeded in letting down the reader time and again.
Lastly the ending, which STILL may have redeemed the rest of the book had it been shocking and unpredictable, was so sloppy and loose that one would think Mr. Laymon found that he had to go somewhere in a big hurry so he slapped an ending on and sent the story off to the publisher.
Perhaps he was just having a bad day, but don't waste your money on this one...