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Richard Laymon, Author Leisure Books $7.99 (378p) ISBN 978-0-8439-4550-8
One of the benefits of Dorchester's ambitious horror line--the only such line from a major American publisher--is the return of Laymon to domestic mass market. Laymon's vigorous, daring tales were popular here in the 1980s, but recently he has been overlooked by mainstream American houses (though he sells well in Britain and is published here by specialty houses, e.g., Cemetery Dance, The Midnight Tour, 1998). It's a shame, then, that his reentry to our paperback racks comes with this novel (published in Britain in 1996), not one of his best. A kind of sequel to The Stake (1991), the story opens as Santa Monica narrator Sam, 26, is visited by old flame Cat: she wants him to kill Elliot, an unwelcome nightly visitor whom she claims is a vampire. Sam agrees, slaying Elliot with a stake in a scene that, typical for Laymon, is bloody, tinged with eroticism and unfolds a whisker away from black humor. The remainder of the novel details Sam and Cat's violent misadventures, including run-ins with homicidal drifters, as they try to dispose of the body. There's some thematic play about the vampire in us all, and Laymon's writing is as crisp and gleefully malevolent as ever, but the characters are thin and the plotting is too linear, incident piled upon incident, dissipating suspense. Still, Laymon fans won't want to miss this one. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1999
Release date: 06/01/1999
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-7472-5101-9
Paperback - 492 pages - 978-1-4778-3702-3
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