First published as an Ebook by Headline Publishing Group in 2012
Cover photograph copyright Kavram/Shutterstock
Well, this was a real page-turner and no mistake. I wouldn't say it was my favourite, I think that honour still goes to Blood Games, but it wasn't lacking in atmosphere and I just flew through it once I got stuck back into it with a vengeance. Darcy is our heroine and a tour guide taking people deep down into a cave beneath a hotel. Little do they know that the owner of the hotel(and the cave beneath too) has been making pretty ladies disappear by dropping then down a handy little shaft, but not before having his dirty little way with them first. Creepily, he has absolutely no compunction about bringing his very own son, the 'at least' as creepy and disturbed Kyle, into the family occupation when he shows him the special room with purpose-built viewing area where any ladies unfortunate enough to catch their fancy gets placed and subsequently raped, killed and dumped down the aforementioned shaft. But it doesn't end there because there are people, of sorts, living down in the depths there, and they're not fussy about what they eat.
Our party of 30 or so visitors and their guides, not to mention the perverted little Kyle get stuck down in the caves when the elevators succumb to a fire and are rendered useless. It's then part waiting game and part escape attempt while also, as it turns out, a fight for their very lives as they realise they're not alone.
Kyle is definitely Mr Laymon's creepiest character so far(unless anyone knows of creepier?), and is quite happy to use the situation to his advantage when he takes up with a young girl called Paula, and we're treated to quite in-depth descriptions of his attempts to get into her knickers(as it were). He doesn't appear to be too fussy though, since before Paula, he was actually madly in lust with the guide Darcy and makes an attempt on her a little later on in fact. As well as this, he at one point mistakes somebody else for Paula but carries on regardless, groping her and fondling her and basically settling for whoever she may be. He does at least show a little surprise when a little light is shed on the situation(thanks to a guy running around with his head on fire!) and we find out it's his Mum!! Oh well, could happen to the best of us.
So the sick, creepy factor on this one was really quite high, but so was the grin factor too. I liked it, but in a 'eeewwww..., yuck...!', kind of way.
I've run out of Richard Laymons on my kindle now, so I've got the pleasure of mulling over my next Amazon purchase at least. I don't usually read more than a couple of the same author in a row, but in Mr Laymon's case I think I may make an exception.
Richard Laymon - Midnight's Lair (Headline, 1992: originally W. H. Allen, 1988, as by Richard Kelly)
Blurb: Mordock's Cave is one of the wonders of the world: a place where thousands of sightseers every year take an awe-inspiring boat trip on a lake deep beneath the earth's surface and marvel at Nature's handiwork. But the darkness is also the home of things Nature never intended - things violent, bestial and obscenely evil. And when a sudden power failure traps a group of tourists underground, the unnatural creatures who dwell there emerge from the depths ...
It has been an age since I last read this, but, along with The Cellar and Funland, it's still among the front runners when I try identify a Laymon personal favourite. I'm not sure if Kyle is RL's creepiest, sleaziest male lead - too many to choose from; the serial-killer in the short Mess Hall must run him close, likewise Quake's handsome All American rapist next door.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.
While I was searching Amazon for my next purchase, I very nearly succumbed to the 'Beast House' omnibus for Kindle. It contains all 4 novels for £6.95, but since I've already read them all, albeit many, many, many years ago, I finally trumped for 'Endless Night' for a quid less. I'll almost certainly pick that omnibus up soon though. Too good a deal to miss.