Books by Robert R. McCammon

GONE SOUTH by Robert R. McCammon
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

If, in Boy's Life (1991), McCammon took a giant step away from horror (Mine, 1990, etc.) and toward his own potent brand of southern gothic, here he takes a daring leap—with a captivating but calculatedly eccentric fable of an outlaw Vietnam vet who learns about the power of redemption. The vet is Dan Lambert, 41, a hard-luck Louisiana carpenter slowly dying from cancer (Agent Orange). Dan's story starts out in swift if familiar thriller-fashion as, through a series of tragic overreactions, he shoots dead the bank officer who's ordered his truck repossessed, and flees. In fact, this opening strongly echoes that of David Morrell's First Blood, which introduced fellow-vet Rambo—but where Rambo was chased by a stalwart sheriff, Dan is soon hounded by two markedly bizarre characters: Flint Murtaugh, a bounty hunter whose secret weapon is the Derringer held by his Siamese-twin brother, Clint, whose arm and head extend from Flint's torso; and Flint's new sidekick, Pelvis Eisley, a drop-dead Elvis (circa 1977) impersonator. And after he makes final contact with his estranged wife and son, Dan finds himself traveling with yet another misfit, Arden—whose beautiful face is marred by a hideous port-wine stain and who's searching for the ``Bright Girl,'' a legendary faith healer whose touch will erase her scar. Improbable events pile up as hunters and hunted race into the deep bayou, where Flint/Clint and Pelvis run afoul of drug dealers and where Dan, touched by his hunters' flawed humanity, joins forces with a Cajun swamp rat to fight to save their lives—and then accompanies Arden to her transfiguring meeting with Bright Girl. No subtlety but lots of surprises, not the least of which is McCammon's ability to humanize deeply even the most absurd of characters. With its careening plot, jackhammer suspense, and very Dean Koontz-like upbeat moral gloss, then—a real crowd-pleaser. Read full book review >
BOY'S LIFE by Robert R. McCammon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 5, 1991

Midway through this enthralling ``fictography,'' as McCammon calls it, the young hero learns of a book ``about [a] town and the people in it...maybe there wasn't a real plot to it...but the book was about life...[it] was sweet and deep and left you wishing for more.'' That's a perfect description of McCammon's fictional autobiography as well, an exuberant celebration of childhood mystery and marvel that's a giant step apart from his popular horror/suspense novels (Mine, 1990, etc.). It's 1964, and both Zephyr, Alabama, and aspiring 12-year-old writer Cory Meckenson, who narrates, are about to grow up from the idyll of small-town America—an idyll that McCammon paints with a score of bull's-eye details, from Cory's delirium on first hearing the Beach Boys to his delight on joining his father on his milkman's route in the cool of a summer's dawn. It's on this route that Cory begins to come of age, as he and his dad witness the sinking in the town lake of a car carrying a brutally murdered man. Who was the man? Who killed him and who sank the car? These questions cast a flitting shadow over the next year, brimming with earthly wonders—a raging flood, a shootout, a showdown with bullies—but also with purely, often darkly, magical wonders as well—a living dinosaur; precognitive nightmares; the grotesque life after death of Cory's dog. And throughout the loose-jointed tale—teeming with smartly realized characters, from the ancient black ``Lady'' whose voodoo wisdom rules Zephyr's ghetto to the wimpy boy with a Nolan Ryan arm to Cory's high-strung mom and quietly courageous dad—the mystery of the man in the lake grows in intensity until it implodes, in one of the rapturously sentimental story's few false notes, into a jarringly melodramatic climax. Strongly echoing the childhood-elegies of King and Bradbury and every bit their equal: a cornucopia of bittersweet fantasy storytelling that is by far McCammon's finest book. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for September). Read full book review >
THEY THIRST by Robert R. McCammon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 20, 1991

First hardcover edition of an early (1981) mass-market paperback by the increasingly popular and accomplished McCammon (see Boy's Life, reviewed above). An epic tale of an army of vampires bent on world dominion, the adrenalized, splatter-happy narrative, set in Los Angeles, reflects McCammon's pulp-horror roots even as, in its richness of character and subplot, it presages his latter work (and the influence of Stephen King). Suspenseful, exciting, and visceral—Prince Vulkan of the vampires makes a particularly nasty impression—and a treat for new-found McCammon fans. Read full book review >