THE LAKE

Richard Laymon, Author . Leisure $24 (374p) ISBN 978-0-8439-5450-0

When Laymon (Island , etc.) died in 2001, he left behind numerous unpublished novels that Leisure has been issuing. This one is good but not great, combining the savagery of his earlier work (Beast House , etc.) with the spooky wonder of his later books (The Traveling Vampire Show , etc.). As the story begins, we see Candyman, a serial killer, at work, then observe teen Deana West watch in horror as her boyfriend is mowed down by a car—driven by Candyman? The narrative then flashes back 20 years to a summer Deana's mother, Leigh, spent in rural Wisconsin; this, the strongest section, details eerie, erotic nighttime forays by Leigh and her lover, a weird local boy, that result in the boy's accidental death. Back in the present, Leigh gets involved with a cop who's a wolf in sheep's clothing, and she and Deana, who's taken to nighttime jogging and who herself gets involved with a mysterious neighbor and his odd, psychic sister, are menaced by the driver of the car that killed Deana's boyfriend. The plot is too complicated, although Laymon does tie all the strands up in a messy knot; but what counts here, as usual for Laymon, is the white-hot pacing, the rivers of blood (which will dismay mainstream readers) and, above all, the memorable evocation of the fathomless mystery of the moonlit hours. (Sept. 2)

Reviewed on: 08/09/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-4285-1092-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 402 pages - 978-0-8439-5620-7
Paperback - 412 pages - 978-1-4778-0689-0
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