The Traveling Vampire Show
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Coming of Age
|Published||May 2000 Cemetery Dance Publications|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover, Paperback)|
The Traveling Vampire Show is a 2000 horror novel by American author Richard Laymon.
The book follows three 16-year-olds on an idle summer day in 1963. The narrator, Dwight, and his best friends Slim, a tomboy, and Rusty, an overweight male, find fliers for an exotic vampire show. They make a journey to a local clearing called Jank's Field in an attempt sneak a peek at Valeria, who is billed as the world's only living captive vampire, but they are attacked by a dog and separated, leading to a series of misadventures. While looking for the others Dwight's attractive sister-in-law Lee purchases four tickets from the show's frontman Julian Stryker. Later that night the group is reunited and attend the titular Vampire Show, where they discover a sinister plot involving the vampires.
The book focuses on the interactions between the three teens and their sexual awakening. There is a bit of "fantasy" involved in the interactions in that Slim, is described as having been badly sexually abused at a young age. The descriptions surrounding her sexual maturity, as compared to Dwight, provides a very simplistic and inaccurate concept of sexuality for those abused in the manner described.
The first run of the book included two special limited editions. A signed limited edition hardcover (1000 copies) had the same production values as the hardcover and included a signature sheet. The traycased lettered edition (26 copies) was signed and lettered, and bound in leather with a satin ribbon page marker and additional full-color artwork. Lettered, limited editions are marked A-Z instead of numerically, and limited to 26 copies. Each book was enclosed in a traycase, a clam shell construction which completely encased the book, a key feature which separates lettered editions from numbered editions.
The book was one of Laymon's more popular novels and won a posthumous Bram Stoker Award for best novel in 2001. A starred review from Publishers Weekly praised the novel for its "emphasis on atmosphere" specifically pointing out the social and sexual tensions among the three teens.
- "Mullen, Paul E., et al. "The long-term impact of the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children: A community study."". Child abuse & neglect 20.1 (1996). 7–21.
- "Cemetery Dance Publications: The Traveling Vampire Show". Cemeterydance.com. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
-  Archived August 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Fiction Review: The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon, Author Cemetery Dance Publications $40 (540p) ISBN 978-1-58767-000-8". Publishersweekly.com. 2000-05-01. Retrieved 2013-09-01.