The Laymon renaissance continues with this provocative author's third novel (along with Come Out Tonight, Forecasts, May 31, and Bite, Forecasts, May 24) to appear this spring/summer. None of the three showcase Laymon at his finest (as did last year's The Midnight Tour, also from Cemetery Dance), though Come Out Tonight (Cemetery Dance as well) comes close. All, however, exhibit his talent for immediate prose and breakneck pacing, and, most interestingly, his penchant for blending genuine pathos with brutality. Here, the blending isn't so artful. This novel, set mostly in 1975, reads like two novellas glued together. One is atypical for Laymon, a sharp skewering of academic life, particularly the marital tribulations of faculty members of Grand Beach (Calif.) High. Substitute teacher Janet Arthur dumps her abusive lover, who wants her to abort their unborn child; librarian Lester Bryant gets involved with aging Southern belle Emily Jean Bonner; Lester's formidable wife, Helen, is sleeping with one of her students, etc. The other plot line is boilerplate Laymon: an Illinois teen, Albert Prince, goes on a homicidal rampage, stalking, raping and slicing several women. The author binds the two plot lines in an arbitrary way, though his tying of pathos and brutality--as Albert is gravely wounded, then soothed, by his final victim--is admirably audacious; and the story concludes with a coda as clever as it is nasty. As is usual with this author, there's at least one scene of heinous sexual violence, intimately detailed, that will leave readers shuddering with disgust. In this novel, as before, Laymon flashes serious storytelling talent, but also the refusal to compromise on theme and depiction that seems to have made him more talked about than read, at least in the States. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/28/1999 Release date: 07/01/1999 Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-4285-0177-5
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-4285-1435-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-61331-105-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 301 pages - 978-0-8439-5752-5
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