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They Thirst

Narrated by: Ray Porter
Length: 19 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Horror
4.5 out of 5 stars (99 ratings)

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Summary

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.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Strain + Zodiac + Salem's Lot = They Thirst

Where does They Thirst rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Andy Palatazin, the homicide detective, who knows what is happening in Los Angeles but can't get the authorities to believe him.

Which character – as performed by Ray Porter – was your favourite?

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.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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!

Any additional comments?

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Need more Garlic!!!

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Refreshing vampire yarn

Thoroughly enjoyed this book and life like characters, especially policeman. I would have liked a sequel to go straight to

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Well written and entertaining vampire horror romp.

I've thoroughly enjoyed this book and I'm very sad that it's finished. The twenty hours have flown by and it's been quite a while since an audiobook has gripped me as much as this one. But being a McCammon novel I should not be surprised as he's rocketing up my favourite authors list lately thanks to his Matthew Corbett mysteries and their excellent audiobook versions.
I would start listening to this again if I hadn't got two more new books to get on with. But I must give a special tip of the proverbial hat to Ray Porter for his superb performance in They Thirst. I don't know why, it's probably just me, but so many American narrators seem to struggle with horror books, giving wooden performances with little true character to the voices, but Mr Porter knocks this one out of the park and you can be sure I'll be checking out his other recordings.
Anyway in short this is a highly enjoyable vampire romp which makes many nods to it's genre that is well read and worth getting when you've a spare credit or especially if it's the book of the day or Uber cheap in the sale. If only it had a better title...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Their eyes were like...

Quite a good listen with a few little niggles and then a very ropey ending.

Every single character had eyes like... emerald shards, glacier ice, liquid fire, etc etc etc. Which gets annoying.

Massive Spoiler:

The entire story is built around a group of individuals coming together to defeat evil. So far so good, they suffer, some die, some have victories and the story moves along generally quite nicely. However, during the end game none of this really matters because god sorts it all out and the protagonists would have been better just legging it as they don’t have any effect on the outcome!

End of spoiler:

Worth a listen though but the ending will be a bit of a wtaf moment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathan
  • LondonUnited Kingdom
  • 02-10-16

Relive Eighties horror

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Mccammon at his best

This is one of the great classic vampire stories of all I know it is becoming a bit dated with it being written in the 70's but anyone who loves vampire tales can't go wrong with this audio book it's well narrated and I would recommend it.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

a LOT of characters to keep track of!

Do you ever come to write a review for a book and your tapping your fingers against the keys with absolutely no idea where to start? It's kind of where I am here for this one. They Thirst ain't no Boy's Life, and it ain't no Swan Song either.

I don’t know what it was about this one, but it just didn’t connect with me the way I really thought it would. McCammon has the ability to weave such beautiful stories, but I felt little connection here and I tried. This one also took me what felt like 2 months to listen to. It was just unnecessarily long in places and could definitely have been cut down by at least half, removing some of the nonsense and making it an all in all more pleasurable experience for the reader. Did I want to rush home in the evening to read it? Maybe at first, but after half way it was a slog. It also seemed all kinds of familiar…

The novel follows Andy, now LAPD detective, who as a boy ran away with his mother one night after his father came home from a hunted trip 'different'. Andy is now trying to track down a rapist serial murderer named The Roach, so named as he leaves cockroaches in the mouth of his victims (ew, gross). But who (or WHAT) is controlling the Roach?

It felt to me there were hundreds of characters in this, and I lost track on multiple occasions. Perhaps this is a better and more enjoyable reading experience than it was a listening one, and a part of me wishes I had maybe done a combination of both just to find out. Hindsight however, is a fine thing, and that's why this only gets 2 fangs from me.

Do I recommend this McCammon? Maybe, your opinion could quite easily be different from mine. Would I stop reading McCammon because of this one novel? Hell no, and I plan on giving The Wolf's Hour a go as my next one.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Fantastic slice on vampire genre

Excellent performance by Ray Porter. Fairly gives Stephen Kings "Salems Lot" a run for his money. Great story

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Boring!

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.

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Profile Image for Paulette
  • Paulette
  • 05-03-14

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.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Cidney
  • 02-02-14

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]

27 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jim "The Impatient"
  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 30-03-15

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.

42 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Daniel Delgado
  • Daniel Delgado
  • 11-01-19

Be Patient

This book has a long exposition. It took me a while to get into it, and after 90 minutes I was considering giving up. I’m glad I didn’t, because once the story got going I really enjoyed it. The long exposition is why there are only 4 stars.
The only reason I bought this book is because Ray Porter narrated it. He is undoubtedly my favorite narrator, and the reason I was patient with the slow start of the story. Once again, Ray shined! His character range was tested with this story, and he aced it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kenneth
  • Kenneth
  • 09-01-14

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.

15 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amanda H.
  • 01-03-14

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!

18 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Gr8n8
  • 28-06-16

not Mccammon's best work

the narrator did a better than average job. the story itself was below average when compared with Robert McCammon's other stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Allan
  • Allan
  • 04-01-16

Predictable and Another Retread of King's "The Stand"

Like his "Swan Song" novel, this novel of McCammon has a predictable plot and didn't have basic character development. It want frightening either. Just predictable. The characters weren't fleshed out in a way that you rooted for or detested them - they were shallow caricatures of standard archetypes.

The final battle/resolution of the novel was completely contrived and unbelievable - even for a horror novel! It was as if McCammon got tired of writing and just wrapped it up with a convenient intervention by ... (I won't spoil it in case you want to listen to the book, but don't waste your time).

Both novels are standard retreads of Stephen Kings's "The Stand."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Yankigal
  • 10-02-14

Oldie but Goody - Fantastic Book!!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

Which character – as performed by Ray Porter – was your favorite?

Andy Palatazin was an awesome character and while Ray Porter made the entire cast great; he was my favorite.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

At times this book made me laugh, cringe and above all else kept me listening.

Any additional comments?

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.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for DobieChuck
  • DobieChuck
  • 04-05-16

Couldn't Get Into It

A disappointing read... I tried, but gould only get through half before I gave up... The writing is ok, but the story itself never fully engages or grabs, and the plot up to where I gave up is vague and opaque at best... Only one or two characters that elicit interest... The narration is above average, and the only reason I stuck it out as long as I did... I've enjoyed many of the author's other works so am surprised at my lackluster feeling about this one...

2 of 3 people found this review helpful