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The Light at the End

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,196 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
An adrenaline-charged tale of unrelenting suspense that sparks with raw and savage energy... The newspapers scream out headlines that spark terror across the city. Ten murders on the New York City subway. Ten grisly crimes that defy all reason -- no pattern, no m.o., no leads for police to pursue. The press dubs the fiend the "Subway Psycho"; the NYPD desperately seeks the ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 385 pages
Published 1986 by Bantam
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Wayne Simmons
Mar 16, 2012 Wayne Simmons rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Skipp & Craig Spector’s THE LIGHT AT THE END is a vamp novel first published in 1986, but don’t let that put you off. This is awesome stuff and a delightfully far cry from Anne Rice.

And a million miles from Stephanie Meyer.

The story’s set in 80s New York, where a serial killer (who turns out to be a recently sired vampire) is rampaging around the underground. The action plays out mostly during night time, lending the book a real Noir feel. The characters are as hard boiled as you like;
Apr 30, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2012-reads
Plot-wise--great book, clever story arc and a fantastic ending. As a vampire story (ie was the vampire sufficiently evil, nasty, unromantic and fear inducing?) excellent. Characterization--so so. My main complaint was that the writing style was quite juvenile at times. Overall I gave it 4 stars but would have trimmed it a bit and liked a more polished writing style.
As a voracious reader, I always try to explore fringe genres, but my heart is forever with the well-written books with believable and fleshed-out characters, human drama and serious choices both characters and readers have to make.
Horror is one of those borderline cases when an exceptionally well-written novel with flawed but interesting characters and an insight into the psyche of a human mind cam enthrall me. Unfortunately, I believe this is not a case. I gave this novel three stars, but th
Ms. Nikki
comes quickly
in the night.
Sinister intent.

in the end,
inevitably accepts.

by Nikki

Free on Amazon 4-11-13

I get it; The Original Splatterpunk-ers. I don't get the mediocre writing or over-easy characters. They're practically running all over the pages. There were times when I wanted the story to move on and end. Joseph was hulking it up constantly and really needed to be medicated. Stephen, was an annoying snot. None of the cast were likeable. The story was not as tight as it should have be
Jun 20, 2011 Bracken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of vampires who DON'T sparkle
When I first read this 25 years ago I really enjoyed it. Rudy Pasko, the villain, is still a wonderfully developed and lasting character--equally an object of fear and contempt. The book remains a vanguard in (at that time) the burgeoning Splatterpunk literary movement and is worth a read for the pull-no-punches horror imagery and the very well-paced final third of the story. I found myself wishing that the subplot with the homeless in the tunnels was expanded and the character list was thinned ...more
Johnny Virgil
I read this book back in the early 80's when I idolized Skipp and Spector -- they were in all the small horror mags I read, and desperately wanted to appear in. They wrote horror flash fiction, and basically created the genre called "splatter-punk."

I recently stumbled across the audio version so I picked it up for my commute and to see how well it held up. I guess sometimes wine turns to vinegar if you leave it sitting for too long. Unfortunately, I didn't really enjoy it all that much. There's
Oct 14, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Light at the End is an excellent, rip-roaring novel that serves up a classic horror novel creature the way it should be portrayed: as insidiously, viciously evil.

I only docked the book one star because of the ridiculously clichéd 1980s homophobia underlying the story.
William Oarlock
Mar 22, 2016 William Oarlock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vampirism
The introductory subway slaughter is perhaps the most powerful vampire opening attack since Varney the Vampyre.

Would also have been a far better ending if the obnoxious bully-boozer-momma's boy human protagonist had died 'heroically'.
Jun 09, 2012 Marvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autographed, horror
This is often regarded as one of the first splatterpunk novels. Sounds right to me. Nice mixture of grungy city life, punks, junkies, and...what else?...vampires.
Jun 03, 2013 Andy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Light at the End haiku

Rudy, punk vampire,
chased by a band of dorks to
poetic justice.

After hearing about The Light at the End's claim to be the first 'Splatterpunk' novel, I was definitely excited to give it a try. The book had some interesting scenarios and plot twists, but overall there were some pacing issues, and the characters ranged from unlikeable to indifferent. There were also a handful of descriptions and pop-cultural references that confused me. I wish I had written them down.

Sep 09, 2009 DJMikeG rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel, the first by the groundbreaking 'splatterpunk' pioneers John Skipp and Craig Spector, was written in New York City, 1986. It really is a New York novel, the city's grim 80s atmosphere is brilliantly used as an urban Gothic backdrop for the horrifying events that take place herein. The story concerns a vampire. A vampire in the subway system of New York. In these days of vampire-everything, and especially vampire as heartthrob, or even good guy , this book might not attract fans of t ...more
Sam McCanna
A total blast of the 80's, and the best vampire novel I've yet to read.
I should say that I was not previously very interested in vampire stories, nor did I know what this book was about when I started reading it.

John Skipp just showed me, with no time to argue, that vampire stories can be really really good.

A good run through a great horror story, told from the viewpoints of several different characters, including the vampire himself... A vampire just recently turned, unaware of how to best util
Apr 18, 2016 Jazzy rated it did not like it
The Light at the End was first published in 1986; and I read it @ 25 years ago. I LOVED it. I don't remember exactly why I loved it, but I 5+ stars LOVED it. I still have the paperback on my "keeper" shelf.

Recently I saw it for $.99 for kindle and thought this would be a good opportunity for a re-read and easier on the older eyes. I don't know what happened, but I didn't love it anymore. I couldn't get into it. There was a whole slew of characters thrown at me, one after another, somewhat one di
KV Taylor
So when I started reading this I was really, really in love with it. The beginning is sick, sick magic, and at first, the characters feel both real and like you'll want them to win... and be sad when they die, as about half of them must, considering. I tore through the first half.

I slowed down by the time I got to 2/3 in, though. A lot of things nagged at me that I couldn't really get past, and ruined my enjoyment of what should've been a perfect vampire story. The last 1/3 was the most intense,
Jul 11, 2013 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book in all it's horror and ugliness. Though the book was written in 1986, it still seems very current with the exception of the dependence on pay phones. The book had a number of characters but the authors meshed them together very well. The vampire Rudy was not a nice human and in no way is he a nice vampire. The rag tag bunch of people who are thrown together by circumstances beyond their control are also not exactly what you would call likable. They come together to ...more
-Si quieres conocer el verdadero carácter de alguien, dale poder y observa-.

Género. Narrativa Fantástica.

Lo que nos cuenta. Un mal tan antiguo que hasta el propio Vlad trató de ganarse sus favores, se toma unas breves y traviesas vacaciones en Nueva York que dejan como resultado una carnicería y un nuevo vampiro, Rudy, que irá descubriendo sus capacidades sin ningún tipo de guía y que actuará en función de su malsana personalidad. Pero sus actividades llamarán la atención de varios personajes.

Jan 09, 2016 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Fascinating to re-read this now, one of the earliest splatter punk novels, after all the vampire and zombie books and movies and TV shows and games we've had in the past fifteen years. What once was revolutionary now seems blasé. So it goes. Plenty of good writing at the scene level and good overall arc. Too many characters to keep track of, kind of like a Dostoyevsky novel; do we really need to know about this many people? Overall, I guess I prefer my splatter punk in smaller doses; in stories ...more
Andrew Arbow
Aug 05, 2014 Andrew Arbow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is completely innovative and holds up where it counts and dates itself where it counts as well. I saw in interview with Craig Spector where he talked about the pitching the book and how he said the idea of a vampire in a black leather jacket was unheard of at the time and now it's hard to think of vampires not in black leather jackets. This started the whole Slpatterpunk movement that brought the same esthetics to horror that Cyberpunk did for Sci-Fi .I'd call this book scary but it's ...more
Feb 16, 2013 Kaniku rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this, but I just couldn't. It felt disjointed and very choppy. And really...."faggots"? Was that necessary?
Not something I would recommend.
S.P. Durnin
Mar 19, 2012 S.P. Durnin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easily, the best work of vampire fiction/horror I've ever had the pleasure to read. Utterly entertaining and satisfyingly visceral. Wonderful work!!!
Sep 29, 2014 Trever rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was terrific. Kicked ass. Very gusty, realistic, raw sort of writing that reminded me a bit of Teresa Hawk. An ancient vampire, passing through New York, vamps some random victims on the subway, one of whom is a skeezy wannabe punk/goth who enjoys his newfound status as an undead killing machine *way* too much. The entire book is him versus our heroes, a classic pack of 80's D&D-playing 20-somethings who call on every Lost Boys trick in the book to take on the growing tide of monsters. ...more
Feb 19, 2016 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I continue my nostalgic run of rereading some of my favorite books from youth. Unlike a couple of the others that failed to recapture the magic I remembered, THE LIGHT AT THE END still rocked. This was actually my third read of this seminal "splatterpunk" updating of the vampire. I first read it in '86 or '87 and then again in '02. Now, nearly 15 years later, I ventured back into the subway tunnels and graffiti covered streets of New York that Skipp and Spector bring to life with such vividness. ...more
Feb 06, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julie Kimbrell Ishaya
Although I have read this book, it has been a long time and I am about to embark on another read of it all these years later. It was in the summer of 1988 that I first read it, stretching it out over many relaxing afternoons in my room, so it has a great sense of nostalgia for me and while I loved Anne Rice's romantic vampires, I also enjoyed the ferocious punk Rudy (yes, I still remember that name). I'm sure that a fresh read will be every bit as enjoyable as the first.
James Jr.
Mar 23, 2012 James Jr. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is what vampires are supposed to be: scary, cold-blooded killers. Rudy, the monster, is a perfect depiction of what Bram Stoker's Renfield might have been had his transition been completed.

Having grown up in the 80s, I appreciated the dated technology the hunters use in this story. The tale itself is a good time, regardless of which decade your adolescence calls home.

My lone complaint about this edition of the novel are the numerous formatting issues in the Nook version, which happen to in
Neil Sarver
Sep 11, 2015 Neil Sarver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is that rating generous or stingy? I think a little of both, which makes it as close as I'll get. The best bits deserve at least that and more, they're so vibrant, alive and true. The least of it falls well short, dull, trite and overwritten. I'll split it and rate 4 stars, because I largely enjoyed all of it.
Aug 16, 2016 Sherry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my introduction to splatterpunk novels back in the day when the genre was new. It blew me away and made me seek out more of this type of book to read. Highly recommended for those who are not squeamish.
Laronza Wiley-moore
It was okay. I'm just not a vampire girl....I prefer zombies. Interesting story though..I just couldn't wait to be finished. Joseph was the most interesting character... he made me keep reading.
Mar 19, 2015 Mandy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love horror novels and usually like vampire stories but OMG this one was terrible. The writing was slow ,boring, and confusing at times. The characters were shallow and annoying and the plot was just abysmal. I would not recommend this book to anyone. EVER.
Jun 08, 2015 Phil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I am pretty sure that this is the novel that kicked off the splatterpuunk type of horror. Just over the top and all the more fun for it. If you like horror, give this one a shot.
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Crossroad Press: The Light at the End by John Skipp & Craig Spector FREE 4 17 Apr 11, 2013 04:36AM  
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