Greetings Brothers and Sisters of the Psychotronic Video World! J.D. Malinger here this evening with a heady little piece of literary escapism with which to enliven your humdrum day to day lives. And when I say little, I mean it; this is one slim little paperback, I could have stuck it in my back pocket during the work day. This is TRASHLIGHT, a redneck spin on a certain sparkling teen vampire romance franchise, courtesy author Ray S. Kent.
The book follows Connor, a teenage girl in Munson, Connecticut who has a real shitty fuckin’ life. Her mother is a check-out drug addict, her step-brother is a shut-in druggie, and her step-father is every creepy child molester stereotype rolled into one. The kind of guy Chris Hansen wakes up at night in a cold sweat about. Just when it looks like Connor’s going to be raped and quite possibly murdered by a trio of creeps, she’s rescued when a handsome guy appears out of the woods and starts ripping throats out with his teeth.
Unsurprisingly, Trashlight follows the general structure and plot of Twilight. However, it’s a much more fun vampire romp, with bloodsuckers more akin to those in NEAR DARK or 30 DAYS OF NIGHT than anything that sparkles in sunlight.
The characters are well-rounded and believable, both the mortal and immortal ones. Connor and her still-living friends seem exactly like some of the women I knew in high school, while the vampires are some of the most well-thought out I’ve ever seen. Issues involving the psychological toll of being undead are addressed in ways I’ve never seen before, and the vampires aren’t dumbasses when it comes to self-preservation. I mean, seriously; no monster has had its mystery more thoroughly stripped away. The vampire’s ways and means, strengths and weaknesses, are not just fully cataloged but common knowledge. The vampires in Trashlight are fully aware of this fact and take appropriate measures.
I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of this fact.