First published in 1981, They Thirst was Robert McCammon’s fourth novel, and it remains one of the major milestones of an ambitious, constantly evolving career. Like its predecessors—Baal, Bethany’s Sin, and The Night Boat—They Thirst made its initial appearance as a paperback original. In the years since, it has acquired an intensely devoted following, and is now widely regarded as one of the significant vampire novels of the 20th century.
The story begins in the tiny Hungarian hamlet of Krajeck, where nine-year-old Andre Palatazin awaits the return of his father from an unspecified—but clearly dangerous—mission. The man who finally returns is no longer Andre’s father—is no longer, in fact, a man. Pursued by this undead entity, Andre and his mother barely escape with their lives. Decades later, Andre—now Andy—Palatazin is a homicide detective in the Los Angeles Police Department, and spends his days dealing with the quotidian terrors of a large metropolis. His life takes a darker turn when the demonic forces he first encountered in Krajeck arrive in L.A., led by an ancient vampire known as The Master. The Master’s plan: to overrun the city and use it as a stepping-stone toward wider, ultimately global, domination.
They Thirst marks the earliest appearance of McCammon’s penchant for epic, wide-angled narratives. With the unobtrusive ease of a natural storyteller, the author propels a wide assortment of vividly created characters through an apocalyptic scenario that combines gritty urban realism with a powerful portrait of supernatural forces at large in the modern world. The result is a genuine classic of the genre, a novel that is as fresh and absorbing today as it was more than thirty years ago.
Apocalyptic catastrophe collides with deeply intimate fears in this hardcover incarnation of McCammon's 1981 paperback horror novel. L.A. homicide detective Andy Palatazin's search for "The Roach," a serial killer, entangles him in a plague of folklore-inspired supernaturalism that mirrors and lends a more palatable face to the human sleaze and nihilism upon which it feeds. When coffins are robbed at Hollywood Memorial, the fates of reporter Gayle Clarke, photographer Jack Kidd, and Det. Palatazin are irrevocably interwoven with the mentally disturbed Walter Benefield and an army of soul-damaged Outsiders. Personal culpability and domestic tensions are juxtaposed with Old Testament morality, anchored by minute detail and sensuous atmosphere. Pathos and tragedy reverberate beneath bawdy sexual tension and violence in a seamless fictional cocktail for genre devotees. As readable today as when first published, this savage yet elegant shock show succeeds as crowd-pleasing storytelling as well as a time capsule of the 1980s horror aesthetic.
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I love F.Paul Wilson!
Been a fan since "The Keep", which spawned the Repairman Jack series. He really is a family physician, so when he writes about anything medically-related, he's an expert!
What can I say about his writings that hasn't already been said?
I met him in New Orleans at the World Fantasy Convention. We spent some time with him, as he wrote an intro to a book our writer's group (Bovine Smoke Society) (named because we saw a herd of cows steaming in morning fog, during a road-trip). He's very nice, a pleasure to spend time with.
Buy all his books, they're great!
Love love love
This is my favorite book. I read my copy from the year it was released, I can't even guess how many times. It has been with me through flood and fire. It has lost it's cover and has seen more scotch tape than Santa's elves wrapping the gifts lol I've had it more years than I care to confess and finally downloaded the iTunes copy today. I'm sure it will be well read, as my hard copy has been, but thankfully it should hold up a lot better through the years to come. :) I highly recommend anything and everything by Robert. But this is my all time fav!!!