Richard Laymon, Author . Leisure $6.99 (392p) ISBN 978-0-8439-5047-2

When horror author Laymon (Island) died in 2001, he left behind several unseen novels (and all signs indicate that he, unlike some other dead authors who continue to publish, actually wrote these books). This newest is middling Laymon—which means that it moves like a bat out of hell and features gobs of titillating sex and jaw-dropping gore, plus a gentle underpinning of emotional truth. Laymon's strength is writing about adolescents; the six highlighted here are college students, three male and three female, who, during a party at the house of one of their professors, are prompted by a Ouija board to look for a "4-T-U-N-E" at a remote California locale, Calamity Peak. Road-tripping there right away, the six students—two of whom mate in the book's affecting romantic subplot—eventually encounter a machete-wielding madman who terrorizes them. Meanwhile, as depicted in cross-cut chapters, the professor and her new lover, concerned about the students' impetuousness, follow the six, only to fall prey to the madman themselves. A skeleton, a family secret, several surprising revelations and two more crazies thicken the plot, which is no more realistic than a fever dream but is embedded in hard reality through the sensuous immediacy of Laymon's prose. Any reader averse to high tension and rampant salaciousness should skip this over-the-top tale, but Laymon fans—an ever-growing group—will embrace it as wild, dirty fun. (On sale Mar. 11)

Reviewed on: 02/24/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 430 pages - 978-1-4778-3705-4
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