Wet Hot Vampire Summer (The Traveling Vampire Show – A Book Review)

The Traveling Vampire Show
Author: Richard Laymon
Published: 2001

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - Traveling Vampire Show

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated: M for mature themes.






A hot summer of 1963, there are flyers tacked up all over Grandville, advertising for the Traveling Vampire Show for one night only. The main event: the alluring and blood-draining Valeria.

After a bet is made, three teenagers: Dwight, Slim, and Rusty, are determined to get in to see the show even though only those who are over eighteen are admitted. The day is long and after a dog attack, deceiving friends, and strange break-ins, they wonder if they should go and what might await if they do.


This was a pretty good book. Definitely not your typical summer adventure. I’ve never read Richard Laymon before. I’m glad I got too.

Scarlet Reader

Slipping into the paranormal/horror genre, this book takes place in the small town of Grandville and everybody knows everybody’s business. By the end of this book, hell, not even, a good quarter of the way in, I knew the ins and outs of this town. The description, imagery, and world-building was superb! The entire book took place during the course of an entire day and it was so in depth and extended without a boring drag. It was warm, dry, and breezy during a time when you didn’t have to be afraid that somebody would break into your home. It was safe.

Pretty campy and fun and even humorous at times; yes, these are a few of my favorite things. Such a good Fright Night vibe. I was digging it.

Scarlet Reader - Traveling Vampire Show

I really liked Dwight and Slim, but found Rusty to be a horrifying little troll I wanted to shove off of a bridge. His little sister was a needy little imp too. They both made my jaw drop to the ground with horror. Cruel, liars, and completely spineless, the two of them are vicious and I couldn’t believe that Dwight was friends with them. Slim however, was so kick-ass. Tomboy with the curves, she’s gone through her own hell and is so strong for it! And she’s so smart. It’s is my absolute favorite thing about this book that she takes up the names of literary characters over her own name. I am in complete awe of her.

Scarlet Reader

This book really took me for a ride. There was nothing cut and dry about it. Shockers and sharp turns were around every page and really got me feeling paranoid. Laymon really got my skin creeping with goosebumps on the way to the book’s main event. Fantastic with the build-up and extra side stories that allowed me to get to know the characters so much more. I love it when there’s side stories, and he wrote them so well! I’m mind-blown. So fantastically done without breaking the flow or steering away from the main story i.e. getting to this vampire show.



A pretty good read. I was addicted. It’s not like it was some life-defining read, but it was a good book. Great for a summer time read. Certainly, for mature audiences too.



“Most of us tell ourselves we don’t believe in that sort of stuff, but maybe that’s because we’re afraid to they might exist. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, aliens from outer space, black magic, the devil, hell…maybe even God.” (Slim, p. 43)

“And even if you could somehow sort out the whys and find the truth, maybe it’s better if you don’t.” (Dwight, p. 51)

“The blood’ll bring vampires like chum brings sharks.” (p. 352)

More to come soon…



Song today? House of the Rising Sun by The Animals


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