They Thirst by Robert McCammon

They Thirst, Robert McCammon, 1981

My favorite quote: “Well, look around. Just look. Have you ever considered the possibility that God might be insane?”

Notable characters: Andy, the detective; the Roach, a rapist and murderer; Gayle, a reporter; Rico, a gangster

Most memorable scene: When the albino opens fire in that bar in Texas. Not that They Thirst isn’t absolutely brimming with memorable scenes (painting vivid — and sometimes horrific — pictures is one of Robert McCammon’s superpowers) but personally, I’ll always remember the bar in Texas … 

Greatest strengths: They Thirst has a huge cast. Huge. And it’s written from multiple points of view, so you know an author’s going to need to be a really good one if they intend to hold their audience’s attention. Well, it just so happens that Robert McCammon is that good. In the hands of a master like McCammon, They Thirst, with all its many threads, segues, and characters, reads seamlessly and held me rapt from cover to cover

Standout achievements: The prose itself. Robert McCammon is one of those writers who seems to have the language at his full command. Even in They Thirst, which was one of his earlier works, you can see an innate understanding of the power of words 

Fun Facts: Citing that he didn’t feel it measured up to his later efforts, Robert McCammon took They Thirst out of print for several years. I’m just glad they brought it back because, seriously, it’s good

Other media: None, but if they ever made They Thirst into a movie, I’d totally play the albino in the bar in Texas. For free, even! Not really. I couldn’t act my way out of a soggy paper sack — but in all seriousness, I’d love to see any Robert McCammon books adapted into film. They Thirst would be especially great 

What it taught me: Robert McCammon excels at a lot of things, but what I’ve learned from him most — and from They Thirst in particular — is how to effectively construct compelling action sequences. I think this is why I keep going back to the scene at the bar in Texas. I don’t know many writers who can create a full-on showdown on the page, but Robert McCammon does it and he does it well. They Thirst is chock-full of action and it flows like silk 

How it inspired me: While writing the third book in my Vampires of Crimson Cove series (The Black Wasp,) I was trying to figure out how my villain, Gretchen, might summon Emeric, her old friend, from several cities away. I remembered a scene in They Thirst where Wes Richer’s wife, a medium, makes contact with an evil spirit who warns them about vampires through a Ouija board. Somehow, this gave me the idea that vampires, being technically dead, might possibly be able to communicate through divining methods … so I added a seance to one of Emeric’s scenes, and viola! … Gretchen made contact. I thank Robert McCammon for that one 

Additional thoughts: They Thirst has a definite Dracula “vibe,” including a serial killer reminiscent of Renfield — but at the same time, it’s a unique work that stands on its own and, in my opinion, is in no way inferior to Robert McCammon’s later works. I really don’t know why he ever took They Thirst out of print. I suspect there’s more to that story … but that’s none of my business …  

Haunt me:

Read They Thirst

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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