If there is anyone out there who has not heard the name Richard Laymon, then welcome back from your ten year botany trip deep in the jungles of venezuala. He sadly passed away in Febuary 2001.
I picked up the Traveling Vampire Show in a second hand book shop and found that the volume also contained “MANY” of his short story’s, wow what a bonus. Anyway the story starts with young Dwight: one of the main characters, mowing his front lawn with strict instructions to have it done before the chief of police who just happens to be his dad gets home from work. His best friends Rusty and Slim turn up and with one thing leading to another they end up taking off for a time that I think we all had as kids during the summer holidays. We know that if we get found out then we’re in for it, early to bed for a week, no tv and chores without pocket money. But if we happen to get away without our strict parents knowing that we left the house without asking, or we had people come round that we shouldn’t, then all of the risk and looking over our shoulders was worth it.
First on the list of places to go is the infamous Janks field and a meeting with a nasty looking dog. A whirlwind of things keep the book moving along at a rather jagged pace, with things such as Dwight having a small crush on his brothers wife, to him then having a crush on his best friend (Slim, who for your infomation is female) to his best friend Rusty doing nothing he’s told while at the same time making a complete nuisance of himself. Whenever I read anything by this author he gets better at having the ability to not only frustrate but make you want to throw your book at the wall. I can only explain it the way I know how. If we want to go somewhere, say, down to the shops, we’ll go from point A to B and lets for arguments sake say we’re walking, we usually know where the shop is, how long its going to take to get there and most of all when we’re going to get back. Not so in his books, every conceivable thing that could go wrong on the way from A to B does go wrong and that trip to the shops takes you to a completly different place. Im getting off track and im sorry but hopefully you can now see what I mean.
In a roundabout way the friends get to the travelling show, but not before they encounter a few surprises, a few scares and Rustys younger sister who threatens to ruin part of the trip if her demands are not taken seriously.
This is a book that shouldn’t be taken seriously, but on the other hand I would think that if we looked hard enough a similar show could be found lurking through the suburbs that doesn’t quiet seem all that its supposed to be.