The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman, Narrated by Christopher Buehlman

While Christopher Buehlman doesn’t add anything new to the heavily-tread mythology of the vampire, what he does provide us with is a fresh and captivating story with characters that come to life–or undeath–and a gritty 1970s New York that feels tangible, even if we do spend a significant amount of our time in the sewers and subway tunnels beneath the city itself. The admittedly unreliable narration of the tale from Joseph H. Peacock is both entertaining and, at times, depressingly bleak.
A spoiled child from an affluent family in the early 20th century, Joey was accustomed to getting what he wanted, and when his mother insists that the cook who adores him has to go, Joey doesn’t take kindly to the replacement. A successfully implemented plan to remove the new cook from his household triggers the cascade of events that leads to Joey becoming a vampire at the young age of 14.
Forty years later, Joey lives beneath Manhattan with an eclectic assortment of other vampires when he first sees the children mesmerizing their victims on the subway. Concerned with the hazard these child vampires pose, Joey’s undead family begins the hunt for these strange and unexpected creatures. Monstrous, cruel, and driven by a sort of nightmarish glee, the children represent a greater threat than any of the other vampires imagined.
Buehlman weaves a fantastically disarming narrative filled with twists and turns that keep the reader reeling. Characters are developed only for the reader to discover that they have to dispel what they thought they knew. Minor details take on sinister connotations as new information gets revealed.
As a narrator for his book, Buehlman displays a keen talent for accents and speech patterns, thoroughly gifting his characters with distinct personalities that come through the tone and inflection of his voice. I’ve heard lower-quality narration from numerous “professional” narrators and voice actors in the past.


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