Friday, June 09, 2017

Booknote: Live Girls

Ray Garton, Live Girls. New York: Dorchester, 2006. ISBN: 9780843956740.

Genre: horror fiction
Subgenre: vampires
Format: paperback
Source: Interlibrary Loan via Hutchins Library, Berea College. This loan came from the St. Joseph Public Library in Missouri.

I picked this up for a couple of reasons. One, a couple of reader's advisory resources on horror had it as a suggestion for vampire fiction readers. Two, I did it to have something for the Pick Your Poison challenge I am doing this year, which includes horror fiction. The premise looked great: a vampire stripper club set up in 1980s New York City before the city decided to "clean itself up" and get all Disney-fied. By the way, you may find some spoilers here, so tread accordingly.

This novel is your classic 1980s horror novel with graphic elements and full of explicit sex. If you like your vampires adult, mean and terrifying, and more mature theme and story, this may be for you. In the end, it has its good things and not so good things.

On the positive side, as I mentioned, this  is a vampire story where the vampires are mature adults, and they are terrifying creatures. Davey Owens gets pulled into their world when a stripper at Live Girls lures him and then eventually turns him into a vampire. Being vampires, sex is given, and there is a lot of it, and it is graphic. Personally, this did not bother me as much. I think it may be in part because I read erotica regularly, so a few graphic scenes do not bother me (and I have read much more graphic to be honest). Yet for other reviewers I read, the explicit sex tended to bother them, which honestly made me wonder what were they expecting. Personally, I also found the Midnight Club dance performance fascinating, but then again, performance art is fine by me in all its forms; this seemed to bother a few reviewers too, again, maybe they should go read something a bit more tame. Anyhow, there is that. In addition, the novel does capture the ambience of the city rather well, a time when the city was much  more gritty and sleazy than it is now (the good old times for some folks). Furthermore, the vampire world building and dynamic are actually pretty good. These are old vampires, like Anya who  keeps a scrapbook of  reviews of her dance performances going back to the 1920s. It  was small details like that which I found fascinating.

On the negative side, the pacing of the story is extremely slow. It picks up in bits and pieces, and gets a bit quicker in the latter part of the book once Davey is turned. However, it is slow reading for a bit more than half of the book. In addition, there are some irritating characters, such as Chad, Davey's nemesis at the third rate publishing house they work in, and their boss, an obnoxious woman who is not above sexually harassing her male subordinates. Then we have Benedek the reporter, who has the potential to be interesting, but it only goes so far. He is seeking revenge from the vampire that killed members of his family. In addition, the book can be scary, but for all the fuss, I honestly did not find it that scary. What I found was a vampires tale that works OK, and that is a good refreshment from all the tween vampires and emo vampires we find today. My main problem is that it dragged, and after you take the good elements, it really is not that great of a book. I had a hard staying with it because it was not that exciting. It is pretty much one of those you read once, and then you go looking for something better.

The edition I read is a 2006 reprint; the book first came out in 1987, so it does remain popular for some folks. I understand there is a sequel to this book, but based on this book I will be skipping it.

In the end, it was just OK, so I am giving it 2 out of 5 stars.

* * * * * 

Book qualifies  for the following 2017 Reading Challenges: 

No comments: