Lot Lizards by Ray Garton
Reading Ray Garton novels is a lot like reading literary movies that are just plain fun. Lot Lizards is no different. As the description states, lot lizards are prostitutes that haunt truck stops, truckers being their target … um … market.
We begin the story with Bill, a trucker who’s stopped for the night at a truck stop and is feeling a little frisky. He hopes to hear the knock on his driver’s side door, indicating the solicitation of a lizard. One comes, but Bill is taken by how skinny and pale the girl is. I found this part very interesting. He takes her in but is no longer horny. He wants to feed her, warm her up, take care of her. He goes from wanting to do the dirty with a prostitute to becoming a caring father within a blink of the eye.
Which is good, in my opinion. It shows depth of character and makes us like Bill almost immediately.
Of course, the lot lizard isn’t the frail young girl looking for a meal Bill thinks she is. Nope. She’s a blood sucking vampire! In Lot Lizards, the vampires travel in their own rig from truck stop to truck stop. They feed on truckers, but only enough to knock them out so that they can steal all their money and worth-while belongings. If they kill them, then the victim will reanimate, becoming a blood-sucking fiend themselves.
Bill’s lot lizard has similar intentions. Only she takes it too far. When Bill wakes up again, he’s cold and distorted and hungry. Only he isn’t hungry for the food he’s accustomed to eating.
We meet up with Bill one year later. He’s spent the year living on the road, unable to return to his wife and son. He hasn’t even sent them so much as a Dear Jane letter. He returns to the truck stop where he lost his humanity. There’s a terrible snowstorm, and what’s worse is that his wife, now remarried, her new husband, and his kids are also there. And so is the rig full of vampiric lot lizards. Worse yet: the highway has been closed because of the storm, and so everyone is stuck at the truck stop, unable to leave.
Now, I realize that this might be the kind of literary coincidence that often makes you shake your head and roll your eyes. But trust me, while you’re reading, it makes sense and you’re able to suspend your disbelief. Because what we have here is a set up for something great and fun to watch unravel, and the reader is not disappointed.
For the most part.
Despite the great build up, I felt that certain aspects of the story lagged or became unbelievable or could have been expanded. I didn’t like Jonny, Bill’s son. Although he displayed emotion and acted as any kid would in that situation (meeting his father who disappeared on him a year later), he still felt a little flat to me. And although the story ended with a bang, I wanted more. Something like a Saving Private Ryan battle, but with snow and vampires.
Over all, Lot lizards is a great, fun read. And the story behind how Ray wrote it is fascinating as well. From his own blog post on the subject, he actually wrote this book at a truck stop. He would work on it from midnight until four in the morning while visiting the woman who would one day become his wife while she worked.
And no, you sick bugger. She worked within the restaurant. She wasn’t a lot lizard.
If you want a good time, then I recommend this book. Have fun, but I suggest you stay away from the lizards.
Because we often think that lot lizards might look like this:
When in reality, they look like this: