The Stake

Richard Laymon, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (441p) ISBN 978-0-312-06016-9
A novelist worries about the stake driven through the heart of a presumed vampire in this chilling horror story by the author of Flesh. Larry Durban, his neighbor Pete and their wives find the body of the young woman hidden in the basement of a ghost-town hotel. Pete persuades Larry, who has started writing a vampire novel, to bring the body home. Hoping for a great PR stunt, Pete plans to film the removal of the stake. But Larry has second thoughts. An old man tried to kill them when they picked up the coffin, suggesting that he, for one, believes in vampires. And Larry starts to have disturbing dreams about his ``houseguest,'' whose finger bears a class ring identifying her as ``Bonnie'' and a onetime student at the high school that his own teenage daughter, Lane, attends. Even more disturbing is the deepening relationship between Lane and her English teacher, Hal Kramer. Early on, Laymon shows Kramer engaging in a bloody murder, thereby raising the possibility of a connection to Bonnie. By studying old newspaper clippings, Larry learns that numerous young women had disappeared at the same time as Bonnie, but surely, he tells himself, these were innocents, not vampires. By this point, the reader shares Larry's doubts, and the tension becomes electric.The novel's only flaw may be overindulgence in dialogue. But its lighthearted tone sets up some white-knuckle moments, and the ending is more than worthy of Laymon's buildup. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8217-4897-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 512 pages - 978-0-7860-1258-9
Paperback - 506 pages - 978-0-7472-3548-4
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