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Publisher's Summary

Christopher Buehlman excels in twisting the familiar into newfound dread in his genre-bending novels. Now the acclaimed author of Those Across the River delivers his most disquieting tale yet.

The secret is, vampires are real and I am one. The secret is, I'm stealing from you what is most truly yours and I'm not sorry.…

New York City in 1978 is a dirty, dangerous place to live - and die. Joey Peacock knows this as well as anybody - he has spent the last 40 years as an adolescent vampire, perfecting the routine he now enjoys: womanizing in punk clubs and discotheques, feeding by night, and sleeping by day with others of his kind in the macabre labyrinth under the city's sidewalks.

The subways are his playground and his highway, shuttling him throughout Manhattan to bleed the unsuspecting in the Sheep Meadow of Central Park or in the backseats of Checker cabs, or even those in their own apartments who are too hypnotized by sitcoms to notice him opening their windows. It's almost too easy.

Until one night he sees them hunting on his beloved subway. The children with the merry eyes. Vampires, like him…or not like him. Whatever they are, whatever their appearance means, the undead in the tunnels of Manhattan are not as safe as they once were.

And neither are the rest of us.

©2014 Christopher Buehlman (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"As much F. Scott Fitzgerald as Dean Koontz." ( New York Times best-selling author Patricia Briggs)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Glorious, nasty reminder of why you fear the dark

Any additional comments?

Let me preface this by saying, as a general rule, I don’t “do” contemporary vampire novels. To be honest, pop-culture has all-but ripped the fangs out of vampires. Few and far between are tales of these monstrous masters of the undead that are actually visceral and scary. I want my vampires to be frightening. I don’t want to fall in love with them. I want to be afraid of them, in those little cowering monkey-places that keep me scared of the dark. I picked this book up on a recommendation and I’m glad I did. Simply put, it is my favorite book of 2016 so far, and in the vein of “scary vampires” it’s a triumph that does not disappoint. Now, the rest of the story…

I picked up a copy of “The Lesser Dead” on Audible Audiobook and not only was it my favorite novel of 2016 to-date, it’s also one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to in years. The book is narrated by the author Christopher Buehlman, and in my experience, authors generally give mediocre performances at best as narrators. Not so with Buehlman’s performance of The Lesser Dead. His characterization and dramatic performance is absolutely first rate. I’ll be comparing other audiobook performances to this one for a very long time to come.

The story itself hit two personal home-runs for me right out of the gate.

First, the vampires were scary. Dark, hungry, scary things that lived and hunted in the shadows of New York. And much to my joy, the only got scarier as the book went along. Which, frankly, was a hell of an accomplishment on the part of Buehlman. More than that though, the characters themselves, the people they’d been in life and the creatures they became in undeath, they were refreshingly, and even at times, upsettingly real. These weren’t all pampered little whitebread vampiric offspring of thoughtful doctors and upper middle class souls. Most of them had raw, dirty, and utterly believable origins. Buehlman did a phenomenal job of bringing the lives they had lived (while living) into their existence as vampires in the underworld ruins of New York City.

Second, it was a period piece, and a masterfully done one at that, set in one of my favorite, iconic settings – 1970s New York. Buehlman’s narrative of New York was alive with the sights, sounds, and smells of the city’s late Sodom and Gamora period. The dirty New York from the ’70s people prefer to talk about in the past-tense.
Remember when I said that Buehlman’s vampires only get scarier as the book goes along? I mean it. Follow the blood flowing in the cracks and gutters to the very end, and I promise you, your skin will crawl while the Rolling Stones “Sympathy For The Devil” echoes in your head. Don’t trust the children…

A solid-gold 5 out of 5 star read. A glorious, nasty reminder of why you fear the dark…

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

NICE GUYS NEARLY ALWAYS FINISH LAST

TWENTY YEARS GO BY FAST WHEN YOUR DEAD
The high rating, vampires and the mention of sex, drew me to this book. It started out great. I grew up in the 70's and fashion wise it was a strange period. I wore tighter than tight clothes, polyester, platform shoes (they were burnt orange and brown), bell bottoms and lots of pastels. The county was still reeling from going from conservative sexual values to free love. I went to the theatre seven times to see Saturday Night Fever. Of course their was Star Wars and Disco. So, a lot of this was like a class reunion for me. If your not from that time period, I got to wonder how much you will get out of this.

No Plot, short stories, boring
I was mainly hoping for something on the wrong side of the tracks of acceptable. The overblown reviews had me believing that was what I was to expect. I should have known when the author starts out by telling us how dark the book was that I was in for boring. A good looking girl does not have to tell you she is good looking, you know. A scary off the wall type book does not have to announce it. First two hours were great, but the story had no plot, was not scary (with the exception of the children Vampires) and seemed like a bunch of short stories.

Hard core horror fans should skip this.

77 of 101 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

It will give you great nightmares!

Any additional comments?

This is another "killer" story by Christopher Buehlman! As has been his pattern so far, it is very different in flavor, though not in frights, from his past work. With Christopher Buehlman himself voicing the story, he pulls the reader into an underground view of New York City in the 1970s, bringing his characters to life with a flawless performance. The time period influences the characters, even if they themselves are not a part of that particular era. There are no "heroes" here, just the voice of a teen monster who is older than he seems. The overall story is a fun and scary ride, interspersed with comic moments, with enough twists to keep you delighted to the very end. It’s a fantastic, gruesome tale that will keep you turning the pages and sleeping with the lights on!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Terrific author-narrated novel

Let's just start by saying that I rarely read horror, but I've seen the author perform many times and was curious to hear his narration preview on audible. After listening to the five minute sample I was completely hooked. I promptly exchanged my precious audible credit for the book and now, two days later, I'm finished and completely blown away. I would have completed the listen in one day, however it was dark and close to bedtime when I got to the most intense part of the book so I had to put it down to finish in the daylight.

This is the second book I've ready by Buehlman, the first being his freshman novel, Those Across the River. They are very different novels, with different time periods, different subject matter, but the consistent factor between the two novels is that he creates wonderfully nuanced, flawed characters that you love to listen to. Joey Peacock is our, admittedly very flawed, hero. He's a young looking vampire in New York in the late 70's, sleeping underground by day and feeding on New Yorkers by night. He's not apologetic, well, not much, and he's careful. He's got a circle of vampire friends, and a cadre of regulars he drinks from, his life is pretty uneventful. That is, it is uneventful until he sees the children on the train.

I don't want to go into too much detail, no spoilers here, but let me tell you that I was not able to sleep after listening to one sequence. I actually had to put another book on just to clear the very graphic, very terrifying images out of my head. This is not a sparkly vampire book, this is gritty, and good. Oh so very good.

Regarding the narration, I've heard a lot of self-narrated novels and I've disliked almost all of them, but Buehlman is the exception. In fact, I can't imagine another reader as the reading is masterfully done. There are characters of several ethnic backgrounds in the novel and his portrayal of them is perfect, from the terrifying Irish matriarch of the vampire clan to the creepy little English boy, Peter, each character is nuanced and well defined.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this novel to all who love horror or a good, creepy tale.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • San Jose, CA, United States
  • 10-29-14

A fresh approach to the modern vampire story

Christopher Buehlman makes a wonderfully fresh and different story from the modern vampire story. As he so frequently has done with his other novels, he takes a genre beaten to the ground by pulp authors, and get you to quickly care about the people he creates.

If you are unfamiliar with his works, Christopher often puts a heartbreaking, harsh and realistic edge in his stories. He also seems to not be interested in writing sequels, though if he were to deign to do so, many would line up to see the return of his characters and follow their adventures again.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen
  • Pinellas Park, FL, United States
  • 10-15-14

Best work yet.

What made the experience of listening to The Lesser Dead the most enjoyable?

Hearing the author read it in the voice he's created really added to the story. The descriptions were more believable from the character's perspective.

What does Christopher Buehlman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Reading the book read aloud in the first person narrative made this my favorite of Buehlman's novels. He's hit his stride and it's so enjoyable to hear him finally reading in these character's voices. His work with dialects adds greatly to the audio.

Any additional comments?

Buehlman is writing action that is matched up with his pacing. He's gotten into a rhythm that suits the storytelling, and that gives the audience a chance to arrive with the characters.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Just fell in love with the main character...

He's a NY Cab driver who happens to need to feed on you, but still expects a tip. It's the first audio book I've rewound often, just to re-hear that cynical line. Hysterical. As a native New Yorker, I think I've met these characters. I wish it were a series. Not an eat-your-nails horror story... But very entertaining.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Head Spinner | Time Escape

Narrator was exquisite and flowed very nicely. the voice drags you into the story and you won't want to stop listening.

Absolutely recommending this book to all of my friends and family.

Currently looking for more by this author.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Close to perfect!

Everything I wanted (and some stuff I didn’t know I wanted) from a book about vampires. And, the author’s performance is fantastic. I never wanted this audio book to end.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Vampires are real

Definitely not the same old, same old vampire tale. Creepy, terrifying, thrilling, and unexpectedly heartbreaking. The 70s NYC setting enhances the story. The protagonist takes us on an in-depth tour of a world that just might exist. Whose to say? have listened repeatedly and love it every time. Great book!