the alfmeister

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Archive for the tag “Richard Laymon”

Book Review – Iceberg by Clive Cussler

As the blurb on the rear cover hints; “Here was a sea mystery to rank with the Bermuda Triangle and the Marie Celeste…”

Well sort of except that the Triangle and Celeste are believable…but they were right one thing, its rank.

When I started this I had some high hopes of it – a mystery ship is found entombed in an iceberg by the Coast Guard. Cool, sounds like a story. It covers espionage, assassination, a Utopian society, and skullduggery found only in modern politics which involves some of the most powerful people in the world. But as is so often the case, money and power are no match for common folk like you and me, and when these villans realise that maybe they will stop doing evil and combine their efforts for the common good…that was sarcasm, by the way. Read more…


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 – No Sanctuary by Richard Laymon

After being referred this writer, the first book of his didn’t go down well, but ever open-minded (yes, I am!) I thought I would read another for balance.

Not bad...

The tale follows a couple hiking in the mountain forests somewhere in the US, and their paths cross with a rag-tag bunch of people including fellow hikers, lesbian students and rampaging, hormonal men and boys. Throw in a side story of a wealthy girl who gets kicks out of staying in stranger’s houses while they are away, it suddenly takes a turn when she inadvertently breaks into a serial killer’s house.

This book was considerably better than my last read, and as I approached the end I thought I had it figured out and would come to a seemingly predictable, nevertheless thrilling, finale. But then just short of the end he ruined the whole effort by throwing in an irrelevant character which not only appeared stupid, but unlikely, and then a small series of unlikely side stories were thrown in a amateurish attempt to bring the storylines back together. The ending, typically gruesome and graphic in his style was a good wrap, although I am again amazed at this writer’s deep seeded obsession with sex…and angry sex at that.

Overall not bad, but the crazed mountain man-come-preacher ruined the whole book, especially with his pet cougars and it is the only real part of the book that sticks to mind. But you know what? I am ready to read another…I am sure he has one real doozie in his collection somewhere and I will eke it out. Stephen King and Dean Koontz really rate him, but on what I haven’t found, yet.

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