The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman
Narrator: Christopher Buehlman
Also by this author: Between Two Fires
Published by Penguin on October 7, 2014
Length: 9 hours 40 minutes
“As much F. Scott Fitzgerald as Dean Koontz” (#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs), Christopher Buehlman excels in twisting the familiar into newfound dread in his “genre-bending” (California Literary Review) 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 forty 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.
One of the things I find fascinating about Buehlman’s works is how different the settings and time periods are. I read Between Two Fires first and have to admit to wondering if he could write another time period as well, especially something more modern like The Lesser Dead which is set in 1970s New York with a vampire as the narrator. Well, all I can say now is Buehlman is a master of setting and mood, he can absolutely write diverse settings and still immerse the reader to the point where they feel like they are right there in the middle of all the gritty gory details.
I love the snarky insights that Joey Peacock delivers, his character is so important for this story to work. If you don’t like Joey Peacock (or at least enjoy reading about Joey Peacock), there’s no point in reading this as it is told from his perspective. Joey is stuck for eternity in his early teen body, not exactly your typical package, but his personality is anything but young and naive. Living in our world, vampires are forced to be ruthless sometimes and Joey is no exception. He is hard and gives a wonderfully clever and dark view of the world he’s living in.
Also, I love myself a vampire book that is lacking both sparkles and shirtless werewolves, a vampire book that is all about the darkness, the mystery and the survival of a species that lives in our shadows. This book is dark and dirty and bloody. And did I mention it has eerie children? Children so small and disturbing that even the vampires are leery and disconcerted by them. Yeah, do you know how much I love stories with creepy mysterious children? Another win.
Definitely recommend to those looking for a real horror vampire book, one that enthralls the reader and is vicious in it’s execution.
Buehlman’s diverse abilities do not stop at writing. Evidently he can narrate as well and do a damn fine job of it. I am always both excited and apprehensive when I see a book is narrated by the author. Excited because if they can pull it off, we can hear the story exactly as it was intended to be told. Apprehensive because narrating and writing are two uniquely different skills and being amazing at one does not automatically mean being amazing at the other. Buehlman can narrate about as well as he can write which is quite impressive!