The Traveling Vampire Show
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The Traveling Vampire Show

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  3,972 ratings  ·  211 reviews
When the one-night-only Traveling Vampire Show arrives in town, promising the only living vampire in captivity, beautiful Valeria, three local teenages venture where they do not belong, and discover much more than they bargained for.
Hardcover, 540 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Cemetery Dance Publications (first published 2000)
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This. Book. Sucked.
Okay, first the plus side: Slim is awesome.
And that's about it for the plus side.
On the minus side: We have to see the awesome character Slim through the eyes of this annoying teenage boy who spends nearly ever scene she's in describing her butt.
Also on the minus side: Pretty much all the other characters were downright annoying. I was very disappointed they didn't ALL (except Slim) die horrible deaths at the end.
Once again on the minus side: This book was painfully BORING an...more
I was totally disappointed in this book. I was expecting a chiller, and instead got a book about teenagers killing time. Halfway through the book we watched the protagonists do laundry, LAUNDRY! We don't even get to the Vampire Show until after page 400, and then the whole plot goes inexplicably bonkers. There were all sorts of loose ends left throughout the book that I was waiting to be resolved, but just left me with a bitter 'wtf' flavor in my mouth.
Michael Fierce
Nov 07, 2012 Michael Fierce rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Stephen King, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dark Carnival horror
Recommended to Michael Fierce by: the ghost of Ray Bradbury

So you know, I've been a Richard Laymon fan for 28 + yrs now, having gotten into him while searching for books recommended by Stephen King while visiting the best bookstore on the Earth, The Dark Carnival, in Berkeley, CA.

The handful of books I have of Richard Laymon's I've read several times and thought they were remarkably great books (with the exception of "The Stake" which I have tried to read a few times and it just never grabbed me enough to keep turning the pages).

Resurrection Dreams is...more
This is the first Richard Laymon book that I read and the last he wrote before he died. It is an amazing book and won him posthumously the Stoker award of 2001. Though Laymon is not for everyone, his writing is filled with graphic nudity and often quite disturbing violence and images, many of his stories have a coming of age aura to them, and every book of his that I have read I was literally unable to put down until I finished it. He has definitely become one of my favorites. And I cannot recom...more
Barks & Bites
I've read a few Laymon novels with varying levels of enjoyment. Resurrection Dreams I enjoyed for its gory over-the-top fun but I just couldn't get into Flesh or Funland .

Despite its title this book is not about vampires. It's about three 16 year old friends and their fascination with visiting the upcoming vampire show. It has moments of gore but mainly it's a coming of age tale focusing on these young kids. The lusty thoughts which I've come to expect from a Laymon book, and which usually c...more
I didn't have high hopes for this book after having read the Beasthouse Series, which although not bad, was fairly bland for my tastes. I was pleasantly surprised by this story, which was far more heartfelt and character driven. The entire story takes place in less than 24 hours, though a few flashbacks add into the depth of the tale. The story revolves around 3 friends - Dwight (who is the voice of the book), Rusty, and Slim (who changes her name depending on her favorite book at the moment). M...more
Adam Light

I liked the concept, and the execution was nearly spot-on; the story is set in the early sixties and was rich with details from that era. The characters were very life-like. There was a lot of the author's trademark off-beat humor infused into the narrative, as well.
This story was suspenseful, and built to a pretty satisfying conclusion, and it was almost perfectly paced. I bought it for my Kindle Fire, and have to point out that there were many typos and the author's name popped up in the middl...more
Wow! I REALLY enjoyed this book. So much so, that I stayed up WAY too late to finish it because it was just so suspenseful. I seriously could not put it down for even one second! I really liked the writing style, not to mention the very-charming characters. And while not everything was explained, it somehow didn't bother me as much as it normally would... everything just worked. And the author is from Illinois!! I will DEFINITELY be keeping an eye out for other books by him! What an exciting thi...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
I must say this is the most unusual coming of age story I've ever read. It's also a different twist on vampires, and one of those books where you're never quite sure what actually was going on. This one is pretty gory, but enjoyable. Although the main characters are all kids, this one is not a good book for a very young reader (less than 16 years of age).
It's time to admit an unpleasant truth.

Richard Laymon Novels and I are no longer an item.

For a good decade beginning in my teens, Richard Laymon was my go-to horror author. I scoured my local library reading anything and everything by him I could get my hands on. My Dad even joined in the fun. We'd take turns reading his newest and then share our perspectives on what we enjoyed or felt missed the mark. This continued right up until my Dad moved out of home to live with his new partner but I stil...more
Lily Author
My deepest respect to the late Richard Laymon and his surviving family. I mean no disrepect to his memory.

*takes deep breath* Okay, here I go...

I like to go on book binges, at the library or a used bookstore and just randomly get 5 - 10 titles. I read The Traveling Vampire Show during one of these binges. I can't even remember the ending, because I found the story absurd.

Fast forward about 7 years, I was trying to remember the title of THAT DAMN BOOK so I could add it to GoodReads. Alas, when it...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book is much different from other Richard Laymon books I have read, lacks the sex and gore typical of his books, and moves at a much slower, suspense-building pace. I absolutely loved it! It is hot, the summer of 1963, and three teenagers, Dwight, Rusty, and Slim, are anxious to see the one-night-only performance of The Traveling Vampire Show, which claims to have the only living vampire in captivity, Valeria, at the legendary Janks Field. As soon as they head out to Janks Field to get a sn...more
Coming down from reading All Men Are Mortal, I needed a brain breather and Laymon's The Traveling Vampire Show nicely fitted the bill.

Laymon does two things very well: (1) He powerfully invokes the "horror" of being a teen-age boy. If you're a man and not squirming at being reminded of all the awkwardness of that age, you were raised by wolves. (2) He keeps you on the edge of your seat. You really don't know what's going on or what's going to happen next for much of the novel.

There are parts of...more
It's got some padding in it (like all Laymon books), but it's never boring like it is in King's books,and the pages fly by. Laymon's teenagers are among the very best in Horror Lit. They have one thing in mind: SEX. Outrageous, insane, but fun. A crazy ass dog, a traveling vampire show that recalls Bradbury's Something Wicked, but with horny teenagers and nude wrestling. Even some Lovecraftian weirdness at the end. Probably the best Laymon I've read.
-Atractiva serie B.-

Género. Narrativa Fantástica.

Lo que nos cuenta. El espectáculo ambulante del vampiro ha llegado a la ciudad de Grandville, una pequeña localidad estadounidense como tantas otras de comienzos de los años sesenta, por lo que tres amigos adolescentes, Rusty, Slim y Dwight, buscan la manera de poder ver a Valeria, la única vampira en cautividad que se conoce, a pesar de que el espectáculo no permita la entrada a menores de edad. Va a ser un día como nunca esperaron que sería.

Ryne Barber
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It started out with some potential, but quickly switched gears to stupid and worthless. Richard Laymon took his "sexy scenes" straight out of 60's porn. They were ridiculous, and lacked any originality. The main character was supposedly (kind of ) narrating this story from the modern day. He would interject (taking the reader completely out of the crappy story) to explain the most mundane and uninteresting things about life in the 1950's, like the fact that there weren't huge recycling centers b...more
Jeremy Bates
Stephen King said it best: “If you’ve missed Laymon, you’ve missed a treat.”

I came across The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon by fluke. But as soon as I finished it, I read another four or five Laymon books in a row. He is somewhat hit or miss, but The Traveling Vampire Show was a bullseye. Moreover, it is the last book he wrote before he died, and it won him the Bram Stoker award (posthumously) in 2001.

Like many of Laymon’s work, this is a great coming of age story involving a bunch of...more
3 Stars

It was okay, or just more than okay. It was pretty good; I just think I expected more. This is nothing remotely close to Something Wicked This Way Comes, so don't even compare. Most of the story is about 2 immature boys, their hormones and the fact that they want to go to the Traveling Vampire Show. A few odd things happen along the way, and it is not the fault of the carnies either. The oddities occur at the hands of one of their own, which is a lot creepier than a vamp doing it, which y...more
Janie Johnson
Ever been to a "one night only" Traveling Vampire show? Can you see how a group of teenage kids "not allowed" would wanna go see what it was about? So they try their best and they hide out on the top of a traveling camper.

There friendships grow along with their courage as they see the "one night only" show unfold before their eyes. They end up getting more than they bargained for in the end. This is also a great book for a "reread".

Laymon tells a great tale with this one. One that keeps the page...more
Slim is awesome
Rusty is nasty and crude
Richard Laymon was a fucking pervert
I'm pretty sure about that too
Sep 19, 2011 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror fans
Shelves: horror
Laymon's excellent coming-of-age tale tinged with potentially-supernatural elements is an excellent read, and a great introduction to this author for those unfamiliar with his work. Dwight, Slim and Rusty are all sixteen years old, growing up in rural America in 1963 when the flyers for "The Traveling Vampire Show (no one under 18 admitted)" start cropping up all over town. The trio decide that they absolutely must get into the event, no matter what, as it promises to be the greatest thing to hi...more
THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW. Come and see - the one and only known VAMPIRE in captivity. - VALERIA - Gorgeous! Beguiling! Lethal!

This is a coming of age story. The entire story unfolds over the course of one day, and one long night. Three local teenagers desire nothing more than to see, `The Traveling Vampire Show.'

Richard Laymon writes with a fluid sense of ease, his prose flow effortlessly allowing the reader to feel comfortable within the world of his text. This allows for a quick and satisf...more
Andre Higgins
Not much of a horror story, I would catalog this one as a good thriller instead. Although it takes an eternity to finally get to the travelling vampire show action, it doesn't disappoint once you get there. Lots of strange action takes place at the end of the book. The characters are nicely done and the overall flavor of the story is like a warm memory of an exciting summer adventure of when we were young..... with monsters lurking in our imaginations at every corner, behind every tree.
The begin...more
Althea Ann
This was my first book by Laymon - apparently he's much more famous in the UK, etc... than in the US.

It's a tense, well-written piece of horror fiction.

Plotwise, it's like a combination of Pet Sematary and Stand By Me, with a vampire carny thrown into the mix. (The more I think about it, the more parallels there are with both classics).

Three teens decide to sneak into an advertised 'vampire show' that's in town, which is to take place in a field with a bad reputation. When they go to check out t...more
Leigh  Porch
Jul 28, 2008 Leigh Porch rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror Coming Of Age Lovers
Shelves: horror-fantasy
This story reminds me a little of Stand by Me by Stephen King. It is a kind of coming of age story set in a horror novel. All of the events take place in one day. Laymon does a great job of building the suspense, as the action doesn't really take place before the last third of the book. And, like Stand by Me, most of the story is the kids themselves getting ready to face something that will change them profoundly. It is creepy, but not in a way that will keep you under the covers with a flashlig...more
Most of Laymon's books, as I read them, I ask myself "what is WRONG with me? I must be SICK to enjoy this stuff!!!" But this was a (relatively) lighter fare - sort of a coming of age fable, in a way. And, well, I enjoy anything having to do with vampires - as long as the vampires don't (completely) lose . . . :-)= That said, this, like any Laymon work, isn't for the faint of heart, nor for those who are looking for a happily-ever-after ending. Laymon wrote TRUE horror, which is becoming increasi...more
Much better than the past book of his I read "The Lake" -- but alas that isn't saying much. Laymon sets things up rather well and then really not much happens, reading like a rather lame rendition of "Stand By Me". (coupled with really horny teens having fantasies that go on WAY too long) An reviewer nailed what I felt exactly about the middle portion: "It's almost as if the author wrote opening and closing chapters that (vaguely) deal with the vampire story, and filled in the middle...more
Nov 09, 2013 Robby rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror Fans
Recommended to Robby by: Goodreads Friends
I had a lot of fun reading this one. It reminded me of the movie "Stand by Me" based on Stephen King's book titled "The Body". Of course this book by the infamous "Richard Laymon" was totally on the dark side but; would one expect otherwise? It was a total joy to be drawn into the storyline as only the master (Mr. Laymon) can do with his character personifications magnified to the extreme. In this case; the chosen ones are Dwight, Rusty, and Slim; three teenagers who go where they should not go,...more
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Richard Laymon was born in Chicago and grew up in California. He earned a BA in English Literature from Willamette, and an MA from Loyola University. He worked as a schoolteacher, a librarian, and a report writer for a law firm, and was the author of more than thirty acclaimed novels.

He also published more than sixty short stories in magazines such as Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock, and Cavalier,...more
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