Live Girls is the only novel from my reading list that hasn’t been turned into a movie. Hollywood, what are you waiting for? There are enough terrible vampire-stripper movies on Netflix to choke a nosferatu, so it’s about time to do it right and make a good one. You couldn’t ask for better source material than Live Girls.
The setup in a nutshell: The main character, Davey, lives in New York City and works a dead-end job at a magazine. His loses a vital promotion to a business rival, and then his girlfriend dumps him. He goes for a soul-searching walk to Time’s Square, where he wanders into a strip club called Live Girls. (Keep in mind this was Time’s Square back in the 1980s. That strip club is probably a Starbucks now. Or the Disney Store.) There he meets an alluring woman called Anya, who seduces him and eventually turns him into a vampire.
The rest of the book follows Davey’s exploits as he navigates life as one of the living dead. Along the way he meets a former reporter from The New York Times, Benedek, who’s working on a story about the peculiar goings-on at Time’s Square. When the owner of Live Girls, the mysterious Shideh, abducts Davey’s would-be new girlfriend, Casey, Davey is forced to attack the club, save the girl he loves and fight off a horde of angry vampires . . . not to mention even worse creatures that dwell in the basement.
Yes, the book is as cool as it sounds. It reads like a mash up between Fright Night and From Dusk Till Dawn, with a splash of “Murgunstrumm” thrown in for good measure. It maintains a high body count, especially once Davey gets ahold on his new powers and starts exacting revenge against those who’ve wronged him. One clever bit I liked involved what happens to vampires who feast on the blood of junkies. The side effects aren’t pretty, and speak once again to the drug epidemic of the ‘80s.
My only objection with the book dealt with its treatment of Anya. She’s a critical character in the story, because she’s the one who changes Davey’s life and ushers him into the world of the undead. He’s totally enamored with this enchanting siren for the first half of the book, yet Anya suddenly drops out of the story and doesn’t surface again until the climax. It felt like a jarring omission. Shideh and Anya could’ve been the same person, and it wouldn’t have substantially affected the plot. Despite Anya being treated as an afterthought, there’s an implication (never directly stated) that she escaped Live Girls during Davey’s final siege. I know Garton has published a sequel called Night Life, so perhaps he was saving Anya’s story for another book. That’s my hope anyway.
Overall, Live Girls is a treat. I don’t read a lot of vampire fiction because it’s largely derivative, but Garton found a fresh twist on an old tale. Based on my thorough enjoyment of this novel, I’ll certainly pick up Night Life in the future.
This book is AWESOME