Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Powerful Pages: They Thirst by Robert R. McCammon (1981)

Powerful Pages: They Thirst by Robert R. McCammon (1981)

They Thirst is far from a great book.  It may not even be that good.  It has an abundance of flaws, and in the early stages, it was so derivative that I wasn't sure that I would able to stick with it.  And while I'm not opposed to pulp or trash, I do have my limits.  Despite these complaints and the presence of maybe half a dozen stupendous coincidences too many, I didn't put this early venture from Robert R. McCammon aside.  Why?  Three reasons, mostly.  First, while the villains were largely cliches and the protagonists were cut from the same cloth, the latter group resonated with me for reasons I don't fully comprehend.  I followed them deeper and deeper into this sprawling opus with a certain degree of trepidation, but the more I read, the more pressing my need to know how they would fare became. Secondly, McCammon did an excellent job with the ghastly elements of this vampire yarn, deftly portraying the vicious bursts of carnage that kept propelling the characters into greater jeopardy and firmly establishing a sense of creeping dread.  Lastly, raw as it may have been in so many ways, one can't help but marvel at the scope of this fanged saga.  McCammon dared to tell a vampire story on as grand a scale as one could imagine.  Maybe he fumbled and stumbled a bit along the way, but in the end, he put the entire city of Los Angeles and even the world as we know it in immense peril.  In doing so, he delivered a tremendous conclusion that may have been just as serendipitous and overwrought as the first act, but somehow proved to be both engrossing and satisfying.  Seldom has the phrase "grand finale" been so appropriate.  Yes, They Thirst is far from a great book, but it is entertaining as hell, and I have to salute the author for putting so much at stake.

Final Grade: C+

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