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The Lost Boys turned 30 this week. I don’t remember the first time I saw this movie, just that I always loved it and that had little to do with the sexy mullets. Kids fight monsters by the grace of comic books and squirt guns. The story’s not quite what you expect it to be. It’s messier than good guys versus bad guys. The POV camera work draws you in decades before GoPro cams existed. When the vampires ride we ride. When they fall we fall. When they fly we fly. They want to take us with them. Maybe that’s why we root for them. And they can’t be taken down because we don’t watch to the very end. Nope.

The Lost Boys is a fun 80’s movie with rich, beautiful people playing wild outsiders on the other side of death. What’s not to love?

Vampire novels are another story. I’ve put many down with a huff – a huff is the ultimate insult in the mean aisles of a library. I still can’t resist looking for meaty ones where the stakes are greater than life and death. Make them want you as more than food and live forever. Better still, save yourself from ever losing those you love. It’s a nice fantasy drawn in blood and violence.

Vampire rhymes with campfire. Therefore not all vampire stories must take themselves so seriously. Full of fast cars and mean monsters, Christopher Buehlman’s The Suicide Motor Club is good fun.

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Buehlman opens this tale like a 70’s horror movie. Late at night on an open moonlit road. Judith rides home from vacation with her husband driving and young son in the back. A red car pulls up beside them. People-not-people with sharp teeth and glowing eyes pull her son from the car window. Like that he’s gone.

They travel at night and take pleasure in killing. Their method of choice is forcing other cars off the road, sending passengers to their deaths or worse. After losing her son and husband, Judith retreats to her faith. She questions the will of god and whether anything possible can really be an abomination.

In The Lost Boys, David and his fellows thirsted for more than blood and offered more than immortality. They were compelling. Here vampires are vicious killers and that’s it. I had trouble telling the vampire characters apart then gave up trying to keep track because it didn’t really matter. Yet it held my attention throughout.

The Suicide Motor Club checks all the boxes for a fun horror novel. I enjoyed its pace and shifting of narratives between the living and undead. It’s a quick, tight, cinematic read that reminds me of the pulp novels I used to be a sucker for, only it’s way better. Buehlman’s writing is clear and energetic. No matter how messy things get or fast the crashes, I always saw what was going on and felt in it, along for the ride.  If there were drive-ins for reading books The Suicide Motor Club could double feature with Lost Souls or Fevre Dream. We could split a funnel cake.

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