I love vampire novels. I just love them. I haven’t read all of them but I definitely tried, (some of them aren’t worth reading). I’ve definitely read all the biggest ones by the biggest names.
That said, I’m still very picky about the vampires books I do read, and even more so, about the ones I like. At the top of my list are Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, Robert McCammon’s They Thirst, and John Skipp’s The Light at the End, at number one. No, Suicide Motor Club isn’t as good as these, but it easily makes it into the second tier of great vampire novels, which include Interview with a Vampire, and the Sonja Blue novels.
I spent a lot of time being reminded of other vampire movies when reading this though, most specifically The Unforsaken, and Near Dark. If you liked those two movies, you will like Suicide Motor Club. I can picture this novel taking place in much the same universe as those two movies, and perhaps the writer found some inspiration from them, as evidenced by his use of the word “daybitch” , which the vampires use to describe their daytime human servant.
Like the above mentioned films, most of SMC takes place on the road. It’s about a quartet of vampires who like to crash into their victims and feed in the aftermath. Since the vampires heal incredibly fast, stunts involving fast moving vehicles means little to them. For them it’s all in good fun. When they steal the child, and destroy the family, of the female protagonist, Judith, they set in motion a chain of events they were too short sighted to have foreseen. Coupled with the arrival of an older, more experienced vampire, into their ranks, and you can see their end coming from miles away. It only remains to know how that end will occur.
SMC is set in the late sixties, at the height of the Vietnam War, and hippie culture. The time period is perfect, as there’s no video surveillance, people still use pay phones, and the classic cars, aren’t classics quite yet. Their victims are still quiet naive and trusting about a lot of things, which makes it easier for the vampires to operate the way they do.
I loved this book even if it’s not written by John Skipp. It does meander in a couple of places and starts a wee bit slower than I liked, but the action is “Fast and Furious”, and the most well written part. Actually, it holds up better as a novel much more than The Unforsaken did as a movie. Like the vampires from that movie, these ones aren’t very bright, but make up for that with being seriously vicious, with a certain native cunning, and the ability to charm their victims into forgetting about them.
I compared it to Near Dark because, like them, these aren’t your Twilight vamps. There are no teenagers in this book. There’s no love triangles here, although there is a surprising, cute, and tension filled romance. It’s pretty much all action, with brief respites to catch your breath. These vampires would probably eat the Twilight vampires without even recognizing them as related.
This was a fun, fast summer read. Predictable, but not too much. The imagery is tight, the dialogue is acceptable, you get only as much details about the characters personal lives as is absolutely needed, and the plot isn’t too taxing. It’s not too heavy on the gore, and how horrifying it will be to you is largely subjective. That depends on what gets to you. Do car crashes bother you? Do you hate the sight of blood?
Highly recommended! I’m giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Out of five of these buddies. (Five stars would put it in the top tier and Buehlman ain’t quite ready for that yet. This is the first book I’ve ever read by him. I’m leaving room for him to impress me later.)
I don’t know if this book will crack my top ten horror novels, this year, but it’s a good candidate.
*<This was a free e- book from Netgalley, given in exchange for a review.>