the alfmeister

a figment of reality's imagination

Archive for the tag “horror”

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.


Book Review – Island by Richard Laymon

“If you’ve missed Richard Laymon, you’ve missed a treat” – Stephen King

Well my guess is;

  1. Stephen hasn’t read a Laymon book
  2. Stephen got paid shitloads to say this (which is on the front of most of his books, so was it by book or an all-encompassing?)
  3. Stephen mistook Laymon for someone else
  4. Stephen’s a crackpot

Now I use the numbered ‘options’ as a parody to how this book is written, it pops up a lot, but you know what, they aren’t the only annoying thing in this book. Read more…

Book Review – The Beast House by Richard Laymon

Special thanks to Tash who gave me her copy of the book to read.


Promising cover...

This was my third and final attempt at reading a Laymon horror, and in comparison to the previous two shockers (and I don’t mean the type that keep you awake at night) this was a whole lot better…he lives, for choice of a better term (he died in 2001 from a heart attack) another day, another book.

This was one of his earlier attempts and it seems from reading two of his later novels to date his art suffers, much like Sting who was so much better in The Police, but then became a dullard as he took scope of the world and lost his ‘powers’.

The story follows two young, and seemingly nubile (of course, familiar theme to his books) women on a road trip to locate the former lover of one of them. Through a series of (and sometimes far-fetched) incidents they end up in a small hamlet of a town where the local industry appears to be inbreeding and horrific killings. They hook up with two sexually charged young men, ex-Marines for good measure, and all fall hopelessly in love having a great time while behind their very backs people are being torn limb from limb, and skullduggery takes place around a book deal. Lost? Well you need to read it to get  a sense of it, and despite me seemingly aloof take on it, it was pretty damned good. And from the point the two men entered The Beast House itself, I couldn’t put it down reading the last half-dozen chapters off. Edge of the seat stuff somewhat, and even lending itself to a sequel (it appears in doing my homework, this was the second of four novels dedicated to the ‘house’).

Worth a read, best of the three I have read so far, but as usual, and so unlike the king of horror, Stephen King, the blatant, gratuitous, and irrelevant sex-capades ruined it for me. If I wanted books to that extent, I would read Penthouse, at least there would be pictures as well.

I now have to decide which of the other two Tash has given me to read…Dark Mountain, or Island?

Book Review – Amara by Richard Laymon

This book took about four days to read, not really because it was a good book but it took my mind off recent events. It was recommended to me by a girl I went to school with after my review on the last Stephen King novel I read.

The basis of this story is an age-old tale about the cursed mummies walking the earth after thousands of years and wreeking their vengeance. The main plot was good, but it was the side stories that (finally) joined up at the end that had me confused and wondering if the book had been a misprint of more than one.

His story telling and descriptive nature is very good, much like King especially around the gore and splatter, but what is his fascination with gratuitous (and sometime sado-masochistic) sex? Not that I mind sex myself, but it seemed somewhat 80s in its mix of horror and rumpy-pumpy. And if he can paint a picture on slash, he certainly has done his homework on the finer points of blowjobs!

Not bad, but not great. However in the interest of giving the guy a fair go, and because he was referred, I will get out another of his novels to see if it was just a bad’un.

Book Review – Cell by Stephen King

The concept of this book is brilliant, the execution not so unfortunately. However in saying that, I found it a good book to read as is most of King’s works.

The story surrounds the end of the world as we know it due to our obsession with the mobile phone (Who? Me?) and the carnage that takes place after “the Pulse”. But amongst it all are ‘survivors’, those that couldn’t use or didn’t own a cell phone, and it plots a group who band together in the quest to avoid (and destroy) the ‘phoners’ as well as search for their loved ones in case they ‘survived’ also.

The ‘end of the world’ occurs within the first three pages, so you’re immediately into it, and in true King style, there is no holding back on graphic narrative. And for most of the book you are held in suspense as the ‘survivors’ make their way from place to place. And when the ‘phoners’ start evolving, things take an eerie turn, but then it was pushed a little too far in my mind – believing a classic muscle car can rebuild itself after crashing, or pets coming back to life after being buried in an ancient Indian burial ground just seemed more believable than what the ‘phoners’ could do…but don’t let that influence you at all, it is a good story.

PS…damned his way of ending! Left me hanging…

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