the alfmeister

a figment of reality's imagination

Book Review – Dark Mountain by Richard Laymon

Yep, once again I get suckered into a Laymon special, bit mark my words, it is the last time unless someone can guarantee a good read of his.


This was the third book given to me by Tash, so she alone is responsible for my all out attack on the late writer, however, of the three she gave me this was easily the best (which is not saying much). But in true Laymon style, he ruined what could have been a good book by writing a start, a middle, and an end.

Alright, that might be a bit harsh, but I have lost patience with a writer who seems to receive plaudits from some of the heavyweights in the horror/thriller genre. I just don’t see it. Stephen King criticised a lot of the movies based on his books, I think Hollywood can only improve Laymon’s.

This one follows two families who spend a hiking trip together in the mountains and forests of bum-fuck nowhere but run into a redneck rapist who could pass as the spawn of Satan himself while his mother practises black magic. Hmmm, OK, not quite believable, but then again, neither was Star Wars and that turned out OK.

Laymon has a brilliant ability to paint a mental picture of people and the environs, but I don’t think he needs thirty-odd chapters to paint such a scene before anything happens! And then when it does, it gets the gratuitous jig-a-jig-push-push-on-the-mat treatment (that seems to be a patented specialty of his) and then before you blink in the next half-dozen chapters, the suspense and freak show is turned up only to suddenly end quicker and with little relief like that felt with a two-dollar whore.

I suspect the following about my friend Mr Laymon;

  • he was a virgin until sometime after his marriage and he lives vicariously through his characters
  • he has a deep-seated fascination with under-age sex (this one has a 16-year old girl and her 17-year old boyfriend who claimed their love for each other within a couple of nights. Now call me a cynic, but short of saying “I love you” to any girl who would let me cop a feel, I would be very suspicious of any boy who said the same to my daughters without some ‘history’ first, and then I would chop his nuts off!)
  • when sex amongst consenting adults happens in his books (and I say that because half appears to be non-consenting) it appears to indicate Laymon’s frustration at his own ‘socks on, lights off no sex thanks, we’re British’ situation as the depictions and openness of his characters gives me the impression that while travelling in the States I only have to say “wanger” and a woman’s panties will drop and I suffer the same fate that one would expect of a bouncy castle at a fair.
  • he was turned down by Mills and Boon – people read horror to be shit-scared, not get mildly turned-on.

So without further ado, and in the shadow of the zombie-fest that happened to end the story, I bid Mr Laymon fare-thee-well and good riddance…until the time where I am short of material for my “Comedy Classics” portion.

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