Since I have just started getting back into reading some horror novels, I have a huge mix of material to go through - books I just happen to have found locally at boot sales and charity shops.
One author who is prevalent (which is not always a good sign) is Richard Laymon - I must have seen a dozen or more titles lately. Having bought 5 or 6 of them, I'm slowly working my way through.
My latest read was "Allhallow's Eve".
Allhallow's Eve is the story of an old house in which a terrible event had occurred (a mass murder), an outcast kid living nearby with teen angst tipping over into sickness, and a bunch of school kids who must have also attended Carrie's old haunt.......
Without giving the plot away, let me tell you what my expectation was.... as a horror movie fan I was expecting a slasher type story. In fact, that's partially right - though it's not ideal.
This is only the second Laymon book I have read (I'll start a thread on the other one in a moment (The Woods are Dark). I found both of these titles to suffer/benefit from the same thing.
Firstly the good - the books are short. The page count isn't bad, 245 pages for Allhallow's eve, but since there is plenty of space on each page it means this is a quick read. I got through it in around ten hours, fast readers will be able to read it far faster. It's nice to have access to a story like that.
Secondly there is a bit of gore, which is always nice.
Thirdly Laymon is easy to read - his style is breezy and he doesn't waste time on details that aren't relevant. He's like a detective sifting through all the details of his plots, and only picking out the interesting/relevant bits.
Okay, so I've only read two books, and more will follow. However, both the books I have read suffer from rushed endings. The book will be flowing along quite nicely, and then you find yourself 50 pages from the end thinking - "Well, I've not idea how he's going to wrap this up" - only to find he seems to have suddenly realized he has to wrap it up, and he adds a dramatic finale.
What I mean by this is that the ending doesn't quite fit into the whole, and though a piece of the connective jigsaw is missing. In Allhallow's Eve the ending needed more time, and there's a needless event (I won't give spoilers) that really had no place in the book - why not spend more time with the actual climax?
My impression thus far (don't laugh, this is after a massive TWO book read!!) is that Laymon had all the pieces for a good little novel, but kind of run out of steam when making it sure it was tight. Maybe that was how he liked his stories, maybe he was contractually obligated to finish up......
Still - not too bad, if not especially great. You can do worse.
The Sherwood house has been deserted since the horrific killing of a local family in the sleepy town of Ashburg. When invitations to a mysterious party to be held there are sent out, nobody is particularly surprised - after all, everyone wants to party in a house of death on Allhallow's Eve.
This is one of those novels I've been wanting to read for a while now, mainly because it doesn't seem to get many, if any, good reviews and I was really looking forward to putting paid to all that nonsense and going full-on fanboy on it's arse. It's particularly unfortunate then that I find myself completely unable to do so, and am forced to sort of agree with the many dodgy reviews it's received.
So, what's the problem with this one then? After all, anyone that's read a Richard Laymon novel or two, or in fact, a few of the reviews on this very site should probably know what they're getting. I know I never go into a Richard Laymon novel for the realism for example. I know also that I'm likely to encounter lots of very gung-ho descriptions of lovely young ladies, right down to their colour choices when it comes to both gym-shorts(hooray!), and undies(hooray, hooray!!). If that's not enough, there's generally a good smattering of decidedly creepy thought processes of equally creepy characters. All this is wonderful stuff and lots of fun, and I enjoy being able to just let myself go and know that I don't have to delve much more than surface deep into either the story, or the characters.
It all starts off in much the same vein as normal with this one too. A really atmospheric scene with an old lady in her old house next to the cemetery watching the local sheriff investigate the old sherwood house next door. Nice and eery, and a good bit of spookiness going on. But from here on out it all just goes a little bit downhill for me. For the most part, if I had to describe this novel to someone I'd say something like, 'It starts off well with a good old creepy old house scene and then meanders it's way for a couple of hundred pages towards a rushed ending while we get a few odd sexy bits thrown in, probably just to keep us turning the pages.'
I think maybe I'm exaggerating to get my point across here. It's not terrible. It just feels for too long a time that we're just plowing on through simply to get to the party at he Sherwood house at the end, which then turns out not to have been worth the wait after all. It's all a bit anti-climatic. The whole thing felt a little anemic, as though the more substantial, core, meaty parts of the book were somehow scooped out to leave us with a much more lack-lustre experience than might otherwise have been the case.
Of course, there's always an up side with Mr Laymon, what with descriptions of transparent pink panties and what-have-you. I didn't come across any gym shorts in this one either, or even shorts of any type or colour. I haven't checked if this was one of his earlier novels, but if I had to guess, I wouldn't be surprised. Either that, or he just got bored with it, or perhaps it started as a short story or novella or something. I don't know. I wasn't really 'feeling' it with this one like I have with all the others.
Maybe one to save until you've read all the rest. I doubt I'll be rushing to re-read this, which I'm pleased to say is not something I've ever considered saying about Mr Laymon's novels before now.
Edited to include the blurb(which I've been meaning to include for ages but have repeatedly forgotten until now).