Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lot Lizards

The term lot lizard, for those who might retain some innocence, refers to the particularly skanky type of prostitute who hangs out in lots where truck drivers park their rigs for the night. They are usually ladies who would not quite be competitive with the average street-corner hooker. They go from rig to rig, knocking on cab doors until they find a truly desperate driver with no fear of STDs. Now, if Mom asks if you ever learn anything on the internet, you can tell her about this.

In his classic novel Live Girls, author Ray Garton introduced the concept of vampires working as Times Square hookers, and here, he uses the lot lizard culture to similar effect. Bill Ketter is a long-haul trucker who succumbs to temptation and invites a particularly good-looking lizard into his cab, although he doesn’t get exactly what he bargained for (except in the most literal sense, if you catch my drift) when the lady falls on him and bites his neck. He briefly loses consciousness, and awakes just in time to see a black truck leave the lot. In the aftermath, he finds he has an aversion to sunlight, and is asking waiters to hold the garlic, please. A little research reveals the vampires travel around the country, from lot to lot, in two black rigs, driven by well-compensated humans. Ketter begins to chase them, to prevent anyone else from ending up with his affliction.

This chase culminates in a snowed-in truckstop, where the vampires are forced into the open, and a struggle to the death commences between the fangy types and the trapped humans inside the stop’s restaurant. It is somewhat similar in this section to 30 Days of Night, which it preceded by over ten years (Lot Lizards was published in 1991).

Lot Lizards is a fairly short novel (188 pages) and moves with a quick, action-filled pace. Garton always handles this sort of thing well, and he doesn’t disappoint here. There is one coincidence that strains credulity (Ketter’s abandoned family is among those trapped in the diner), but you just go with it. If you liked Live Girls, you should check it out (and if you haven’t read Live Girls, you should read that one). The ending sets up a sequel, although in the seventeen years since publication, nothing has turned up yet.

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