Richard Laymon, Author , intro. by Stanley Wiater, afterword by Don D'Auria. Cemetery Dance $40 (0p) ISBN 978-1-58767-078-7

The only surprises in this nifty story collection from Laymon are the intentional twists in nearly every tale. Laymon cognoscenti will get just what they expect from this celebrated and castigated writer: shock, suspense, sexual violence and prose as sharp as a slap. The 20 entries include recycled material (e.g., from Night Visions 7 , which Wiater edited) as well as unpublished stuff. The lead-off tale, "The Hunt," is Laymon unvarnished, an intense story of a woman selected as a hunter's prey. The final story, "The Slit," is also prime Laymon, the author's psychological acuity on display as he traces the happy fate of a young man who likes to cut women. Also first-rate and representative of the author's better work is "A Good, Secret Place," wherein two male adolescents attempt to punish a nagging third only to see the tables turned; here as in so much Laymon, the author's understanding of the psyche of youth—callous, hypersensitive, obsessed with sex—is spot on. Some of the stories, though, are lesser, and often softer, relying on simpler biter-bit turnarounds or on poetic justice for their punch. Leisure Books editor D'Auria says in his forthright afterword, "I know you loved [these stories]." Every Laymon fan, and globally they are legion, will nod in agreement: even lesser Laymon is a treat. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/24/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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