The town of Carruthers, Texas, has seen its share of drifters and lowlifes but never anyone like Steven and Earl.
They move from town to town, hustling the pool halls, raising a little hell, drinking a little blood. They sleep by day and hunt by night - the ultimate predators. The perfect life.
A barroom brawl ends in disaster. The soil from Steven's grave has been stolen. A young boy's death sparks an all-out war between vampires and mortals, which will turn the local Frontier Day celebration into a bloodbath....
It's time to paint the town red....
©1992 Gary Raisor (P)2015 David N. Wilson
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Less Than Human is a novel about vampires, but it is not the normal vampire tale we've all become accustomed to. If you're looking for a story about the common, romanticized vampire variety, look somewhere else. These vampires are mean and gruesome. Earl and Steven are a unique duo of wicked bloodsuckers who love a bit of pool hall hustling. When Steven's very significant pool cue is stolen, the pair is set on a gory collision course with John Warrick, himself a pool hustler but also, and more importantly, a psychic.
Gary Raisor takes us to Texas and back in time to the old Wild West providing Earl and Steven's back-stories and making this a really original setting for a vampire story. There are mythic elements, there are rats, rattlesnakes, and feathered serpents, there are cowboys and Native Americans. It is a gruesome horror story but the author skillfully blends the terror with a good dose of humor.
It took me a little while to get into the story, as there are plenty of characters to keep up with, and the story initially felt a bit disjointed. I had a feeling I got lost and had to catch up with the plot, but as you get further into the story, it all becomes clear and comes together nicely. Saying that, I was at no stage able to predict what would happen next, so Less Than Human will surprise you with its twists. The epilog was a really nice touch I thought and brought the story to a satisfying, clever ending. Along the way, I also learned a lot about playing pool. Gary Raisor's descriptive passages were very vivid.
Bryan Reid's narration was superb. He clearly defined each character making it so much easier to keep up with the large cast. His scary tone was particularly disturbing, perfect for a horror story. He also had a great way of delivering the humorous lines. There were no issues with the production.
I would recommend this to anybody who enjoys classic horror stories and also to listeners who are looking for an offbeat story with refreshingly different characters.
Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.
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Live, live, live! Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving!
Not exactly vampires
Every time I thought I had figured out what would happen next, the author did something better than anything I had imagined. I am frankly tired of the same old vampire stories, but this is not one of them.
The crucial showdown pool contest was my favorite, but I don't want to give too much away. It doesn't go at all the way I had expected, and that's a good thing. Gambling with a vampire pool hustler - well, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" played in my head the whole time.
I actually needed to take breaks and mull things over. I did fall asleep once while listening, but my dreams were especially strange; you might not want to do that.
Do not dismiss this as just another vampire story. It's just a scary, creepy, compelling story with Western elements, mythic elements and an extra helping of pool hustlers. Both the writing and the narration are exceptional, and the styles are very well suited to the story. For example, the author used a lot of similes that wouldn't have worked in an ordinary story, but they helped to set the proper mood for a creepy tale in the (Old and New) West.
Hustling. Not Sparkling.
Definitely the focus on Native American characters. Very under represented in fiction.
Probably the scene in the graveyard. The pool scenes are also very well done- it's obvious the author has a lot of experience playing pool!
Bryan Reid delivers a fine performance, clearly defining the characters with his voice. My big complaint is that a lot of time, the author gets a little too deep into backstory and tends to stray farther from the plot than is necessary. But it does manage to tie up at the end, and you get to your destination, even if you're taking a bit more of a scenic route than you think you should.
I have to say I really enjoyed this book. The narration was spot on, the character development thorough, and the descriptions epic. The bad guys are truly evil, but not in the typical James Bond villain way.
The ending scene in the pool hall was great, easily the best part of the book. It was pretty great too because normally I spend the whole book waiting for the other shoe to drop, but this book drops the shoe over and over. It's awesome.
That said, some of the transitions were a little jarring, and it wasn't toward the middle of the book where things really seemed like they came together. Still, as a person who doesn't read much horror, this was pretty great.
It makes me happy to wake up everyday and look forward to listening. Many times I listen while doing artwork. I find it very relaxing.
I like just about anything set in Texas. This was good albeit at times a little hard to listen to due to the violence.
The best part was listening to Bryan Reid's performance. He does a nice job with this story but hard to picture him doing this type of audiobook. I've listened to The Torah Codes and it was quite different. A more intelligent type story.
Audiobook received in exchange for an honest review.
Less Than Human includes plenty of violence and a vampire-like character. It is recommended for adults and not easily offended, but it was right for me and a great way to spend a few hours listening to the audiobook.
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