Sunday, May 22, 2005

Laymon, Richard. Darkness, tell us. London: Headline, 1991. 504pp.

Richard Laymon rocks! As far as commercial genre horror writers, there aren't many better, if any. He's tough and gruesome and scary and his novels propel you along link you're running in front of a freight train. Cliff hangers every chapter. Sympathetic, vulnerable, flawed characters. Sudden death. The body counts aren't actually that high generally, but that almost makes it better. It's not like you know everyone going to get it. Some might, some might not. It's always a surprise. As you can see, I like Laymon's work. Commercial horror is always a bit of a gamble -- sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not. You have to find the author's that do it for you -- Tim Lebbon is another example of a good one.

Darkness, Tell Us is a fine example of Laymon's work. It starts with a party for some summer students at a college prof's house. The kids pull down an old ouija board and give it a whirl. The board tells them about some treasure hidden in a mine on a mountain. Of course, the kids head off. When the attractive young prof finds out that the kids have stolen the game she and her new boy friend head off in pursuit. Meanwhile, the spook on the other side of the ouija board has an agenda of its own, not to mention the freakazoid body builder hermit waiting for them all at the mountain. The six kids are a odd bunch, and romance and conflict amongst them add to the spicy mixture.


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