A Mass Murder. A Disappearance. A Cemetery Ransacked.
It looked like another ordinary day in Los Angeles. Then night came...Evil as old as the centuries has descended upon the City of Angels - it comes as a kiss from the terrifying but seductive immortals. Slowly at first, then by the legions, the ravenous undead choke Los Angeles with bloodthirsty determination - and the hordes of monstrous victims steadily mount each night.
High above glitter city a deadly contest begins. In the decaying castle of a long-dead screen idol, the few remaining human survivors prepare to face the Prince of Evil and his satanic disciples. Whilst the very forces of nature are called into play, isolating the city from the rest of the world and leaving it at the mercy of the blood-hungry vultures of the night...They Thirst
©1981 The McCammon Corporation (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Up there with the best! I loved McCammon as an impressionable teen and its great to have a chance to revisit his older books on Audible. This book as all the elements of a traditional vampire novel. A mysterious master figure,a haunted house, a willing mass murderer supplying victims as well as stake wielding, cross bearing, holy water splashing good guys!
Andy Palatazin, the homicide detective, who knows what is happening in Los Angeles but can't get the authorities to believe him.
Palatazin the Hungarian emigre cop. Porter kept up the accent well. This book as a huge cast and they all stood out. From 14 year old boys to eighty year old women, this is a great performance.
Its a slow build up because there are so many characters but when it shifts a gear, its an edge of the seat, white knuckle ride!
For my money, McCammon along with Stephen King and Dean R Koontz were America's horror triumvirate in the 80's and 90's. I couldn't recommend his books They Thirst, Swan Song, Stinger, Wolf's Hour and Boy's Life strongly enough. I'll look forward to listening to these books again. As well as trying McCammon's, Matthew Corbett series.
The kind of story that worked twenty or thirty years ago in a Salems lot, Stand kind of a way, and when you listen now it's all so familiar it's almost a cliche. But you can blame the 'passage' for moving things on and leaving stories like this a little creaky. Still, I enjoyed it in an innocent way.
I was looking forward to this book, I have read a lot of Robert McCammons work and enjoyed them all. This was the first book of his I couldn't finish, I just found it staggeringly boring, I held on as long as I could but I was about three hours in an nothing was happening, I even skipped ahead and nothing was happening, I'm sorry but when moving corpses are being dragged out a building and people still don't believe then I'm done. Ray Porters performance was brilliant though, his range of voices and accents was impressive. I just couldn't warm to the story or the characters. It just didn't live up to McCammons other work like, Swan Song, The Boarder, Wolfs Hour and Matthew Corbetts novels.
I thought "Salem's Lot" was scary - this is much worse!!
The basic premise is a vampire starting a huge army and taking everyone in LA out. As is usual with a McCammon book, there are quite a few characters you get to know along the way and you really fear for them! Two particular scenarios scared the pants off me - a lone doctor checking on 'comatosed' patients and the priest trying to make a human chain of survivors reach the church for safety.
Listen with the lights on.
"Wonderfully Entertaining-A Classic Vampire Story"
They Thirst is a classic vampire horror story. If you love Vampires, you’ll love this work. It is well plotted, a good story and the narration by Ray Porter only adds to its excellence.
It is a classic story that has shades of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and shades of The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. In They Thirst as in classic Vampire lore, the ancient vampire of East European origin, in this case, Prince Vulcan, who was made a vampire at the age of 17 in twelfth century Hungary, comes to America in order to conquer it for the undead and to create a Vampire Army to conquer the world. While this sounds fairly vainglorious, Robert McCammon pulls it off. His narrative allows you to suspend belief just enough to buy into his plot and storyline. Though it is a little slow in the beginning, as it gathers momentum you soon are not able to put it down.
I love narratives where the allegory is the fundamental Good versus Evil. This is primarily seen at the confrontation of the four brave souls, Father Silvera, Wes Richer, Andy Palatazin, Tommy Chandler, who eventually confront the vampire in his lair, (in this case the lair is in the Hollywood hills). They have unexpected help, (divine assistance?) from Solange, a newly turned vampire and Wes’ girlfriend before her change, and Ratty, who lives in the tunnels that run below the city of Los Angeles. The fate of the future of the world and the future of the soul of man comes down to these six individuals and is won or lost by their actions. The hero in the journey is a LAPD Homicide, Detective Andy (Andre) Palatazin of East European origin who has had a brush with vampires early on in his life. Until the present confrontation, he has denied the reality of this earlier confrontation.
The scene of Palatazin’s early vampire confrontation informs the narrative, and plot in the story. The earliest scenes take place in the little Hungarian village, Krajeck, where Andy (Andre) Palatazin grew up. There have been unexplained deaths there, such as Ivon Griska. One evening, Andy’s father with other men of the village, go out to see if they can find and set right “the problem.” Of course, Palatazin’s father returns to he and his mother, but he is “changed.” When his mother realizes what has happenned, ("like a slap in the face"), she must shoot his father in order to help them get away. In this event Palatazin denies the fact that his father had become a vampire and his mother had to shoot him. Even as he and his mother are running from his, now, vampire father, they also run into Ivon Griska, standing in the road in spite of the fact that Andy has attended his burial. This underlies the fact that the problems in Krajeck are vampire related. Palatazin still denies. Until the present crisis in the City of the Angels, Palatazin has chosen to believe that his mother was insane in spite of what he witnessed as a child. His mother shot his father in the face with a shot gun and instead of dying, his father gets up again to chase them. Here again, McCammon communicates the idea that “the best defense for evil is our failure to believe in it.” McCammon makes this case again and again in They Thirst. As Palatazin, a resolute and stalwart soul, and others eventually begin to believe the full horror of what is happening, there are many more who continue to deny the truth of it. Will our heroes be too late to make a difference? Will enough people come to believe? This is what we must find out and cannot find out until the narrative culminates.
Another remarkable character in this novel is the supernatural sand storm that has been inexplicably brought into existence to make the painstaking and already dangerous journey to the Vampire’s Lair even more dangerous and difficult. The sandstorm mystically arises, suddenly, in the Mojave Desert and blows west over southern California, primarily Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the Hollywood hills, East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, the Canyon areas, and the coastal cities. This is a sandstorm that can ground airplanes, strip the paint off of cars, blow cars off the highway, and smother you before you have gone three feet if you are unprepared. It hinders or kills the average person, and only aids the spawn of evil. This is a brilliant creative invention that allows one to experience the struggle of the characters in , yet, another dimension.
The story begins in Krajeck, Hungary and ends in the City of the Angels in Southern California.
The performance of Ray Porter is “aces high” and adds solidity to a well-produced narrative. This is a solid four star read.
"McCammon’s Nudge & Wink"
Well, if vampires were going to take over I believe they would start in L.A. too! “They Thirst” is McCammon’s love letter to “Dracula,” Los Angeles, and now, looking at 30 years past, the 1980’s – I smiled every time a character needed to find a pay phone or turned up a transistor radio.
I first read this book as a kid in the 80’s growing up in Los Angeles. At the time this was sort of the cool kid’s antidote to the “Twilight” of the time (“Interview With a Vampire”) because it was current and used real and – nudge-nudge, wink-wink -- “fictional” L.A. references. From Bela Lugosi to Elvira, Los Angeles has always had a special relationship with vampire mythology and storytelling, and McCammon plays this up to full effect in “They Thirst.”
As an adult I can appreciate his tongue-in-cheek homage to “Dracula,” and his hat tip to “Salem’s Lot” too. He even throws in a couple of shout outs to two of his own earlier novels. Clearly, this is McCammon having fun with the storytelling, so it’s not one of his most polished and mature works. Some of the characters and plot twists are just monster movie over the top. And though it is a little on the long side for this type of story, you still just want to settle in with a big bowl of buttered popcorn and listen the afternoon away. [cue the Theremin and thunder sound effects]
"Better Then Zombies"
This is a fun, could be the end of the world novel, that never takes it's self too serious. There are few writers that can keep me entertained for 19 hours. Off the top of my head they would be Robin Hobb, James Michener, Stephen King, Bryce Courtenay and Robert McCammon. He even dinks one of his earlier works in this book. I also appreciate getting this in one volume. This was written in 1981 and had it bee written today by another writer, he would have added 10 boring hours and made it a trilogy. See Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan's The Strain, The Fall, The Night Eternal (a good series, just would have been better done in one long book.)
The story is about Vampires and McCammon stays true to all the legends. Only instead of being dark and secret, they launch a campaign to take over the world, starting with Los Angeles. It is well done and will not bore you in any part.
If you are a fan of Zombie books, give this a try, it is very similar.
Ray Porter is by far one of the best narrators around. That being said I will say he only has one female voice. I also relate him so much to Joe Ledger, that it often takes me a few minutes to get my brain to forget Joe Ledger and get in the present story.
"Not McCammon's best"
If you're expecting the same quality as Swan Song or even the Matthew Corbett books then you will be disappointed. If you are looking for a decent vampire or urban horror book then this is a great choice. Porter does a decent job narrating but after listening to so many books narrated by this guy I feel like he over-acts sometimes but still a very good narrator.
"Oldie but Goody - Fantastic Book!!"
Would definitely recommend this book. Great characters from Robert McCammon and as always a fabulous job of narration by Ray Porter makes this book a very worthwhile listen.
This kind of epic vampire horror is not the current rage as now vampires are more of a girlish fantasy. This book reinforces my love for the horror genre. McCammon brings together a wide cast of characters, both good and bad, and puts them through hell.
Andy Palatazin was an awesome character and while Ray Porter made the entire cast great; he was my favorite.
At times this book made me laugh, cringe and above all else kept me listening.
Sorry that it took me this long to finally listen to this book. I’m a huge horror fan but there are so many new reads that don't measure up that I am happy I found this 80’s horror which is now one of my favorites.
"NO SPARKLY VAMPIRES JUST PSYCHOTIC KILLERS"
I LOVE TO SEE SOMEONE TAKE THE ROMANCE OUT OF VAMPIRES. THESE VAMPIRES ARE PSYCHOTIC BLOODTHIRSTY KILLERS WHO WANT TO BRING ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD STARTING WITH LOS ANGELES.
I LOVE THE STORY OF THE ORIGINAL "KING" VAMPIRE. I THOUGHT THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT WAS WELL WRITTEN AND THE PLOT AND TWISTS PERFECTLY PLACED......YOU MUST LISTEN TO THE WHOLE BOOK FOR THE STORY TO REVEAL ITSELF WHICH MAKES FOR A GREAT THRILLER AND MYSTERY.
THE END IS FRIGHTENING AND WILL HAVE YOU BITING YOUR NAILS IN FEAR AND ANTICIPATION. WORTH THE CREDIT!
Narrator had all the voices down to a tee. All the characters were believable.
This had a great story line and was much better than the other vampire related books that I have listened to recently.
"RAY PORTER ROCKS!"
Absolutely. The story's captivating enough, even with huge gaping holes throughout. But it's Ray Porter that lifts it from the mundane to a captivating listen.
Everything. His characterizations are top-notch.
"Waited along time for this one"
My husband & I are not huge vampire lovers, so the fact that we really love this book, speaks for its self!
Love the way it starts and then like a slow moving whirlwind it it keeps picking up speed has it throws a huge ensemble of interesting characters into the mix.
He does a good job, like he did with Mccammon's The Night Boat". One moment he can sound like a sith lord, then like a nice neighbor. He reads well, But sometimes he seems a little detached, like he doesn't seem to be into it. I guess it happens when you have 100s of pages to read. But otherwise good job. I like him.
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