The Traveling Vampire Show

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The Travelling Vampire Show
Author Richard Laymon
Country United States
Language English
Genre Horror, Vampires, Coming of age
Published May 2000 Cemetery Dance Publications
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
Pages 534
ISBN 978-1-58767-000-8
OCLC 44409667

The Travelling 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.[1]


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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]


  1. ^ Mullen, P.E.; Martin, J.L.; Anderson, J.C.; Romans, S.E.; Herbison, G.P. (1996). "The long-term impact of the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children: A community study". Child Abuse & Neglect. 20 (1): 7–21. doi:10.1016/0145-2134(95)00112-3. 
  2. ^ "Cemetery Dance Publications: The Travelling Vampire Show". Retrieved 2013-09-01. 
  3. ^ [1] Archived August 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Fiction Review: The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon". 2000-05-01. Retrieved 2013-09-01.