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Less Than Human by Gary Raisor

Less Than Human

by Gary Raisor

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My original Less Than Human audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Less Than Human is a novel about vampires, but it is not the normal vampire tale we've all become accustomed to. If you're looking for a story about the common, romanticized vampire variety, look somewhere else. These vampires are mean and gruesome. Earl and Steven are a unique duo of wicked bloodsuckers who love a bit of pool hall hustling. When Steven's very significant pool cue is stolen, the pair is set on a gory collision course with John Warrick, himself a pool hustler but also, and more importantly, a psychic.

Gary Raisor takes us to Texas and back in time to the old Wild West providing Earl and Steven's back-stories and making this a really original setting for a vampire story. There are mythic elements, there are rats, rattlesnakes, and feathered serpents, there are cowboys and Native Americans. It is a gruesome horror story but the author skillfully blends the terror with a good dose of humor.

It took me a little while to get into the story, as there are plenty of characters to keep up with, and the story initially felt a bit disjointed. I had a feeling I got lost and had to catch up with the plot, but as you get further into the story, it all becomes clear and comes together nicely. Saying that, I was at no stage able to predict what would happen next, so Less Than Human will surprise you with its twists. The epilog was a really nice touch I thought and brought the story to a satisfying, clever ending. Along the way, I also learned a lot about playing pool. Gary Raisor's descriptive passages were very vivid.

Bryan Reid's narration was superb. He clearly defined each character making it so much easier to keep up with the large cast. His scary tone was particularly disturbing, perfect for a horror story. He also had a great way of delivering the humorous lines. There were no issues with the production.

I would recommend this to anybody who enjoys classic horror stories and also to listeners who are looking for an offbeat story with refreshingly different characters.

Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator. ( )
  audiobibliophile | Mar 15, 2016 |
This twenty-year old novel from Gary Raisor packs quite a punch. Released just a few months ago as an ebook, it reads as fresh as anything being published today.

Less Than Human starts with a couple of pool hustlers arriving at Leon's Pool Emporium in Carruthers, Texas looking for a game with local hot-shot D. A. Fontaine. The hustlers, Steven Adler and Earl Jacobs, were a bit disappointed when they discovered D. A. was actually Dorinda, a 17 year-old girl. When Steven and the girl were getting ready to play, "Dorinda felt a slight tingle of fear when she looked into his green eyes. Something wasn't right about them. They seemed way to old for his face. And there was some kind of hidden rage swirling around in their depths. She looked away, and when she looked back, his eyes were okay. It must have been the light, she decided." After a few games the two were asked to leave, which they did, but when Adler went to pick up his special cue stick, he found it was gone. Not a good thing for the people of Carruthers.

I found the whole first chapter in the pool hall to be tense, dark and totally entertaining and it only got better from there. Raisor does a very nice job of developing the characters who comprise this small Texas town, but the villains are what make the story. Steve and Earl are truly memorable characters and get some of the best dialog. Earl to Steve, "You killed the guy's daughter, cut off her hand and stuck it in a jar of pig's feet, and then you tell him you're not exactly human. I think he's already figured that out."

Less Than Human includes plenty of violence as well as an original take on a vampire-like character and no he doesn't "sparkle." Not recommended for the young'uns or easily offended, but it was right in my wheelhouse and a great way to spend a few nights reading.

If you haven't read it before, go ahead and take a chance on Less Than Human. It accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it rather well. ( )
  FrankErrington | Feb 20, 2013 |
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