Ah, Richard Laymon. Is there any other example of a modern Hemingway-style minimalist writer? Even if there is, do they compete with the ebb and flow of Laymon's brutal stories? Can anyone else develop such striking characters out of so few words? Well, if you have the answers, send me a message. Or just send me a message about anything. I get lonely often.
As already alluded to, Richard Laymon once again delivers a great book. It is entertaining and disturbing; intense and humorous; sensual and sadistic. Yep. Good ole Dick Laymon. Dark Mountain is another mass market paperback reissue from our friends at Leisure (http://www.dorchesterpub.com/)! Thanks, guys! Since I didn't know about Laymon until a year ago, I hadn't had the chance to enjoy this read, and some of Laymon's books are harder to get a hold of than the attention of world leaders! Really, though, if you want to get your hands on Richard Laymon books that are out of print, check out http://www.alibris.com/. Great site!
The first half of the book is comprised of Laymon's ability to construct solid, three-dimensional, likable characters. He then sends them into the woods for a camping misadventure that contains its own telling of creepy (and humorous) stories around the campfire. I really wish I had known Laymon while he was alive; his humor really shines through his otherwise harrowing stories. Just when I found myself wondering if I could really take another horror novel with the deep, dark woods as a setting, and crazy inbreds as antagonists. But Laymon, as usual, flips the book around, and puts all of the characters back into their everyday lives. They are left to deal with a very real curse cast upon them at the height of their camping misadventure.
This book concentrates on relationships, too. We get insight into the life of the charming single-parent father who is balancing a bitter, snarky, fiesty daughter and a beautiful, intelligent girlfriend. We have the highly entertaining "man's man" dad (complete with war flashbacks, a cigar, and a disposition for overshadowing his meek wife). And a nice little love story between the daughter of the former father and the son of the latter father. Plus, there's a bonus Oedipus complex thrown in for good literary measure!
Have a couple of hours to kill and want to spend them productively? Pick up Dark Mountain--or any other Laymon novel for that matter.