Suppose there really were vampires. Dark, stalking, destroying. They’d have to be killed, wouldn’t they? Of course they would. But what kind of fools would try to make a living at it?
In best-selling author John Steakley's vampire classic, one tightly knit band of brothers devotes itself to hunting down the monsters that infest the modern world—for a price. An exciting blend of horror and western genres, Vampire$ is a twenty-first-century Ghostbusters with an edge.
©1990 John Steakley (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“This is exciting and surprising stuff….a real genre-bender that keeps the best elements of both.” (Locus)
“Gives a closer, longer look at violent vampire-hunting than anything else to date, often at a breathtaking pace.” (Vampire's Closet)
Steakley's other major book, Armour, was always one of my favorites for it's gritty, relentless depiction of a man fighting his own terror as he fights an unknowable enemy.
Vampire$ is almost two different books. For the first half, you have again this incredible relentlessness of enemy matched by a pace of action and writing that is just as relentless. The second half shifts character focus and is just as brutal but not as relentlessly active -- more classic vampire in and less reminiscent of Armour. I don't want to give the end away, other than to say I was about 80% suckered by it (in a good way). That too, reminded me of Armour.
One thing I realized when I take this book together with what I remember from Armour -- is that that Mr. Steakley understands the fear a man feels when he fights his way through doing what he must no matter how much his brain screams that he should panic and run. I didn't understand that as well back when I read Armour, but I've since become a firefighter and I recognize that feeling (multiplied a thousand fold by Mr. Steakley in his books).
1. Thank you, Mr. Steakley, for giving us back brutal vampires that are truly evil -- a relief after the Laural K. Hamilton and Stephenie Meyer teenage softporn style.
2. All the good stuff you remember from Armour. The brutally relentless battles and the understanding of fear in a much more real and immediate way than even Stephen King can claim.
3. My one criticism is that I think this was two, or maybe three different books -- each an attempt to take on the genre from a different angle, that were merged to make a single novel. It was done fairly well, but the switch mid-way was noticeable.
I very muched enjoyed this John Steakley "Vampires Inc." story narrated by Tom Weiner. The other book "Armor" by the same author and same narrator is one of my all time favorite books and audio books, and Vampire$ brought back that same kind of excitement (perhaps only 90% as much as Armor, but 90% of best is still better than almost everything else).
I was particularly grateful to John Steakley for bringing to life another incarnation of his Jack Crow and Felix characters. I view them much like the Champion Eternal characters of Michael Moorcock where Moorcock made several incarnations of the same anti-heroes (Elric, Corwin, Hawkmoon, etc.). Vampires is basically a new incarnation of the same wonderful anti-heroes that Armor had but in our world instead of the future.
At first I thought, "Gosh this sounds a lot like John Carpenter's Vampires" but with much more character development. I looked up imdb and saw that Steakley wrote John Carpenter's Vampires. But as I progressed in this book I was grateful to learn that this is not only more complex, it's a totally different story (and way better). For one thing, John Carpenter's movie doesn't even have the Felix character, and for another thing the this book takes advantage of Steakley's strength which is character develpment and battles with ones self rather than with evil.
This book kept me on the edge of my seat. It's not your gooey romance style Vamp book. Instead it's gritty,grisly and action packed.
...As blood sucking fiends, who can only fake human sexuality to feed and control. John Steakley is one of my favoite writers and story tellers. I am glad audible released his two books to date.
Gritty, emotional, a great train ride...
Hard to say. I originally read the book more than 20 years ago and it made a big impression. Enough so that I have been meaning to re-read it ever since but just never got around to it. This was the perfect way to revisit the story. So, take your pick.
Having said that, Tom Weiner does a spectacular job. He has the perfect growling, gravelly voice for the tough-guy characters and really sells some of Steakley's more floridly 'macho' dialogue, which could easily have have sounded ludicrous coming from a less accomplished performer. I can't imagine anyone else doing a better job.
Cherry Cat, because I always identify with the smart-ass in any group.
Yes, I have also listened to Weiner's renditions of THE TOURIST by Olen Steinhauer and THE THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH by Philip K. Dick. Both were of the same high calibre. You can't go wrong with Tom Weiner. Dude knows what he's doing.
Definitely. It's a crying shame John Steakley only wrote two novels because both of them are bonafide classics. FYI: The other is ARMOR, perhaps the best military science fiction novel ever written (and, not coincidentally, also performed by Tom Weiner, so I'll be getting that one soonest, as well).
One of the great vampire horror novels. No glittering Euro-trash fashion victims mooning over sulky emo jailbait here. The monsters in this sucker are pure black demonic evil with a capital "E", as they should be. The only things they want are domination, degradation and slaughter. This is strong stuff and very well written with absorbing, surprisingly deep and insightful characterizations and a ton of really terrific action and suspense. One of my all-time favorites.
Tell us about yourself!
From the sappy Twilight franchise, but as a previous reviewer said, reminiscent of John Carpenter's Vampires, was not a big fan of the film but this book was OK, a bit too much about the hunters, not enough about the vampires.... better yet...try Interview with a Vampire or Salem's Lot.
Nah, I don't think so.
Look, Steakley REALLY overwrites. This is a problem with the genre. I love horror, but so much of it is plagued with bad writing. Jack Crowe is 6 foot 2 of pure muscle and total badness, but sometimes he'll weep instantly because he's real sensitive too, ya know? And his narrative in his mind is full of slang and jargon that's super cool and tough. Everything is said in a way a super tough macho man would say it. And he wears chainmail when things get real bad.
Honestly, if vampires are smart and supernatural, I'm not sure why chainmail would help. Is there only method of attack claws and fangs? They're shown to be smart--they'll call you up and be like, "hey buddy, it's hot today, let's meet tonight." You know, setup traps. So if a bunch of chainmailed vamp hunters showed up, why couldn't these vampires have a better method for attacking? Like burning them?
Oh, if this writing is overdone, then Tom Weiner takes the cake for overreading. Listening to his growl the lines and read like a woman and actually BURP when a character burps is enough to make me watch for his name and never buy a book narrated by him again. Disgusting.
Characters? Are there characters in this book? I remember names...
Don't $pend your tokens on this one.
You don't know how much I wanted to like this story. Steakley wrote this book called Armour. Fricken one of the very best SF stories Ive ever come across. And that is the only other story he wrote before dying. So I REALLY wanted to like Vampire$.
But Vampire$ is kind of dumb. Its written kind of choppy. Lots of flashbacks. Rough. Shallow characters. The story is flat. It lacks the depth of Armour.
I think that this is written before Armour. It feels like it was written by someone who was still learning the ropes.
This book is amazing, so its hard to fail. I was a slight bit disappointed in the voice acting, since 3 characters had the same voice, deep and gravelly, so it was hard to tell who was who when all 3 interacted.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
As a fan of Steakley’s military SF novel ARMOR—and realizing that Steakley only managed to complete this one final book before his untimely death—I was compelled to listen to VAMPIRE$. It is true that the main character from ARMOR, Felix, reprises his role as the reluctant warrior in this second book. But there is scant evidence to connect the Felix here with the Felix of the earlier book save for his struggle to overcome fear and his incredible aptitude for destruction in the face of impossible odds. One wonders if John Steakley would have continued in this vein; reprising Felix in this same role in a number of different genre stories, had his career not been cut short. Alas, we will never know. Fortunately Steakley did leave us with this fine coda to the sometimes profound and sometimes paradoxical Military yet Anti-War novel ARMOR. I like to think that Steakley is exploring the very nature of heroism through Felix the fearful juggernaut that is always expecting death but lives to fight another day.
Along the way in VAMPIRE$ we get a rousing action novel with vampires that are but repulsive and yet irresistibly seductive. One of the things I have come to appreciate about Steakley’s work is his fondness for paradox.
Tom Weiner, fittingly, is one of those paradoxes. He has a tender softness in his voice when portraying female characters; a boyish jocularity when voicing the jester Cat; and delivers Felix with the appropriate nervous confidence that his character demands. His flexibility in performing multiple character voices is contrasted by his intransigent, almost overbearing, through the narrative sections. He never becomes the voice in my head. His narration in between dialog scenes gives the book an intensity that I would have missed reading it own my own. I recommend him highly. And if you haven’t yet heard ARMOR go and get it. You can thank me later.
Report Inappropriate Content