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They Thirst

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,572 Ratings  ·  204 Reviews
It looked like another ordinary day in Los Angeles
Then night came....
Evil as old as the centuries has descended upon the City of Angels---it comes as a kiss from the terrifying but seductive immortals. Slowly at first, then by the legions, the ravenous undead choke Los Angeles with bloodthirsty determination---and the hord
Hardcover, 412 pages
Published June 1991 by Dark Harvest (first published January 1st 1981)
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'Salem's Lot by Stephen KingDracula by Bram StokerInterview with the Vampire by Anne RiceDark Lover by J.R. WardThe Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Best Adult Vampire Books
49th out of 1,294 books — 7,041 voters
The Shining by Stephen KingIt by Stephen King'Salem's Lot by Stephen KingDracula by Bram StokerPet Sematary by Stephen King
Best Horror Novels
90th out of 1,341 books — 4,128 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
Tonight there were demons in the hearth.

The prose in this novel is electrifying. McCammon has a way of capturing his reader’s attention from the very first. After all, who can forget the opening lines of Gone South?

Night had filled up the barrio like black rainwater in a bomb crater, and what stirred in its depths was unnameable.

So. Vampires. Before they were the laughing stock of the literary world they were actually pretty damn scary. Don’t believe me? Then read this book.

Scattered in the dir
Best vampire book ever!!!
I am so sick and tired of soulful, guilt ridden vampires. Whatever happened to evil vampires? The ones who want to rid the earth of humanity? The ones that make you wake up in the middle of the night scared that you might not live to see the sun rise? Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Anne Rice fan (Lestat is one of the all time best characters) and Buffy (although that is a movie/tv show), but vampires are suppose to strike fear into people’s hearts not make you want them
Adam Light
Sep 14, 2015 Adam Light rated it really liked it
Another well written, apocaplyptic horror-fest by a true master. McCammon assembles a huge cast of diverse and mostly interesting characters and throws them into a gathering hellstorm of vampires. There was nothing terribly original here, but it made for exciting, pure eighties horror joy for this reader. It did take a long time for me to get into this one, but after about 40%, it took off and didn't slow down. Fojr solid stars.
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 02, 2010 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I read this one long ago and (frankly) had forgotten it. It's a "not bad" read that approaches "really good" at times. Every vampire book these days seems to have it's own version of the vampire myth and this (while it's not all that recent) does to, slightly. It stays pretty close to the traditional vampire persona, but as in some other books it owes more to the movie tradition than the actual folklore or "Stoker-esk" or "Dracula-esk" vampire. Here the author, using the "everyone who gets bitte ...more
Nancy Oakes
Jan 18, 2009 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
brief synopsis:

The story begins in Hungary, where a boy's father has gone off on a dangerous mission. He tells the son to take care of his mother in case anything happens to him. But shortly after he leaves, he returns, and he has changed. The mother runs off with the boy and heads for sanctuary. Years later, that boy (Andre Palatazin) is now a police detective in Los Angeles, his mother now dead. One morning he is awakened by what appears to be his mother, sitting in her favorite rocking chair
Andrew Lennon
This book started off pretty well and I really enjoyed two previous books from this author so I thought I was going to love it!
Sadly that wasn't the case, the first 200 pages or so we're good, but from then I found it a struggle. It became a bit slow moving at times and there seemed to be chapters here and there that didn't really need to be in the story at all.

I'll definit be checking more out by McCammon because like I said I enjoyed the previous two I read (boys life and swan song) so it's hi
Kasia S.
Sep 17, 2012 Kasia S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m both excited and appalled; excited because I picked such a good McCammon to read and appalled that it took me this long to finally read one of his books! I’m a huge horror fan but even I get side tracked by the myriad of available new reads pouring out all the time from beneath gifted pens, but this is 80’s horror which is one of my favorites and it didn’t fail to be as good as it should have. The story reads almost like a movie because it’s so colorful, crazy and picturesque, it starts off ...more
11811 (Eleven)
Oct 02, 2015 11811 (Eleven) rated it it was ok
I always enjoy McCammon's writing but this story was incredibly ordinary for vampire fiction. I almost hated it.
Jul 16, 2008 Charles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
This is the kind of vampire novel I really like. The vamps are bad, really bad. And nasty. Nothing romantic about these undead. Probably one of my favorite vampire novels of all time.
Nov 11, 2014 Bill rated it really liked it
I listened to this one on audio and the narration was very good and the story was paced evenly throughout. It’s not fair to say that the character Palatazin reminded me of the guy in the Strain, but he really did. Ok, I get it that They Thirst was written almost 30 years before The Strain, but I couldn’t help it, especially with the heavy accent on the narration.

They Thirst is a good time 80’s horror romp, as the King of Vampires plots to take over the entire city of Los Angeles and then the res
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Sep 07, 2011 Kurt Reichenbaugh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
This is epic horror that you don't see so much of any more. It's 1981, L.A. the "land of eternal youth," where, as McCammon writes in his afterward, "just off the Sunset Strip there is a dark basement where men do terrible things."

I really enjoyed reading this novel. It's the kind of book that reinforces my love for the genre. McCammon throws together a wide cast of characters, both good and bad, and puts them through hell. The vampires are as evil as they're supposed to be, and the early 1980's
This book might be a little harder to find because it is out of print but don't let that keep you from reading it because it is a GREAT book!

This is definitely one of my favourite vampire books. These are not wimpy vampires that sparkle and fall in love, they are the good old evil blood thirsty horror vampires.

The reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 stars is because I thought the end was a bit silly and disappointing. The book was impossible to put down. Another great McCammon book!
Tobin Elliott
Aug 10, 2015 Tobin Elliott rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, horror, fiction
So this is the first book that McCammon was confident enough to not have pulled. And it's his first "epic" novel, that is, one with a very large cast and a reasonably complex pacing to it.

Does it work? Yeah, most of the time, it's an excellent ride. There's occasionally some apparent waffling on the part of McCammon to get some supernatural stuff in there. Spirits. Ghosts. Mediums. Don't really know if it's needed, because his vampires were very well done. And bonus points for the line, "I fang-
Jun 09, 2008 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I really enjoyed this book, enough to put it up there in the ranking of top 5 vampire books I have read. I thought the plot was interesting (though not new) the characters were very real, the vampires monstrous, and the outlook bleak.

Short Summary: LA is having a rough time: hoodlums are coming in from all over, a serial killer named "The Roach" is on the loose, someone has been robbing cemeteries of their caskets, and people are disappearing left and right. Some are muttering under their breat
David Holdredge
A mediocre book about vicious vampires and the struggling souls bent on defending themselves and loved ones against the onslaught of the dead. There were a few problems with this novel. 1. It takes 200 + pages to actually get interesting. 2. Too much detail given towards the setting. Easilly, 100 pages or more could have been edited out. 3. (Perhaps the largest problem) Every character is completely forgettable. I didn't care about any of the characters and found them all very cliche and dull. I ...more
Nov 29, 2015 Melissa rated it it was amazing
This is probably one of the best vampire books of all time. Though not well known to many readers; Robert McCammon has taken fear to a whole new level in this novel.
The vampires are the best part of the story and are no longer the regal vampires we grew up with. They are frightening and evil which is refreshing to read about.
Jeff B
Jun 05, 2009 Jeff B rated it it was amazing
Possibly the best vampire novel I've ever read. Some huge vampire fans have told me it was too intense for them. Real, gory vampires. Not the pansy type so prevalent today.
Nov 10, 2012 Lou rated it really liked it
Robert McCammon has set the stage, L.A is the setting, vampires are the dark element in this story. His vampires are not that of a teen romance urban fantasy kind but traditional in the sense that they use coffins, summon by mind control, you will find the traditional garlic and crosses as their weakness.
This is longer than your usual 300 page novel but it is in no way felt long due to McCammon's great ability to keep you hooked and with the characters involved. Many of his novels are in depth a
Dec 11, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2012-reads
Let me start out by saying that this book is FUN. You will enjoy it for what it is---a good vampire tale told by a talented author.

One of the two great old school vampire take over novels. The other being Salem's Lot by Stephen King. Although they deal with the same concept they are very different.

Where King's masterpiece sets the action in a small town and makes the threat more confined and intimate (and scarier), McCammon's vampires attempt to take over Los Angeles with dreams of turning the w
John Weathers
Nov 01, 2010 John Weathers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful vampire novel that ranks up there with Salem's Lot and Dracula at the top of my list. Like Salem's Lot, this book is filled with truly creepy imagery, compelling characters, and a great premise. It starts off with an excellent, atmospheric prologue that gets under the skin and then takes off from there. Robert McCammon writes brilliantly and truly brings his settings and characters to life. He also has a great sense of unsettling imagery that he puts to terrific use here. I' ...more
Jeff Jellets
Jul 01, 2015 Jeff Jellets rated it it was amazing

Classic vampire horror fiction that turns the City of Angels into a City of the Damned

Robert R. McCammon is one of my favorite horror writers from the early 1980s and 90s, and books like Stinger and Swan Song still hold treasured space on my bookshelves. But – partially because it was out-of-print for years – I missed reading They Thirst -- McCammon’s epic tale of vampires versus the city of Los Angles – for decades. So … when I chanced upon a tattered paperback copy in an out-of-the-way thrift
Gregor Xane
May 09, 2011 Gregor Xane rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2011
I could barely make it through this book, and found myself skipping large amounts of text just to get to the end of the thing. I almost gave up on it numerous times, and still don't know why I finished it. No new twist on the vampire legend here (even for a book from the late 80's). The writing was weak, with metaphors that were groan-inducing. The end literally had the hand of god defeating the vampires.
Apr 16, 2014 Diane rated it did not like it
I can't finish this. Some books are long and you just want more because it's so good. This one could have done with some serious editing. After trying to struggle through to see what happens I have to give up because it's painful. I guess this means I'll be skipping Swan Song by this author.
Sep 05, 2012 Nat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i read this book a long time ago because my brother told me it was good, and it was. i will say this is one if only a few scary books that kind of had me a little bit scared, i might have even gotten up to make sure my doors were locked.
Oct 06, 2014 Kylie rated it really liked it
It is a real treat to come across a more traditionally styled vampire novel that actually makes you realise what it is that is so horrible about them, that they are the legends they are.

McCammon weaves together the stories of a number of different people in LA, bringing them together to both join and fight the evil brought to the city by the vampires. There is also a serial killer in the mix, a Hungarian now American police detective who had wiped from his memory his early homeland vampire exper
Sep 04, 2009 Amber added it
I have read this book several times now and each time something else strikes me and catches my attention and I dont want to put it down. Great Vampire novel.
Apr 04, 2009 Azariphale rated it really liked it
Completely un-typical vamp book, which is the total appeal. Main baddies have good character development and the whole thing moves at a decent pace.
Rusty Lundgren
Feb 27, 2015 Rusty Lundgren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. But not 5 stars. Highly recommended!!
Jan 20, 2014 Jim rated it it was ok
Disappointingly Mediocre and Cliched

I have been a fan of Robert R. McCammon since I first read SWAN SONG shortly after its publication in 1987. It was his seventh novel and the first to appear on the NY Times Best Seller list. It was an awesome, epic piece of work. Since then I have read a number of other RRM novels including BOYS LIFE and, most recently, THE FIVE. All slightly different, all clearly written by a master craftsman.

So when I ordered THEY THIRST for the Kindle, based on reading a n
Wow another great book about old-style, mankind against the truly evil creatures whose shadows spook us from dark corners of our mind? or are these hideous spawns of Satan really stalking us after the sun goes down?
This book was a really great read albeit a bit long. I must admit I don't like to read books over the 400 page mark unless I read really and I mean really great reviews. This book was one of them I decided to read based on such glowing reviews.
The storyline kept me captivated until t
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Headmaster 4 39 Jan 20, 2013 01:56PM  
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Robert Rick McCammon was a full-time horror writer for many years. After taking a hiatus for his family, he returned to writing with an interest in historical fiction.

A new contemporary novel, The Five, was published in May 2011 by Subterranean Press.

The fifth book in the Matthew Corbett historical fiction series is The River of Souls. It was published by Subterranean Press in trade, limited, and
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“Right." He smiled bitterly. "Well, look around. Just look. Have you ever considered the possibility that God might be insane?” 10 likes
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