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Book Reviews and Recommendations

Spotlight on: In the Dark by Richard Laymon

To arrange to have products considered for review, send an email to craigsbookclub@yahoo.com.

In the Dark by Richard Laymon Richard Laymon, In the Dark

This is my kind of book. I had a hunch after reading the blurb on the back, and I knew it once I had gotten through the first thirty pages. I love games and In the Dark is about one long game, the Master of Games (MOG) who sets it up, and the librarian whose life it changes forever.

One night, while closing up the library, Jane Kerry finds an envelope with her name printed on it in bold, dark letters. Inside the envelope is a fifty-dollar bill and a typed instruction to "look homeward, angel." Locating the Thomas Wolfe novel upstairs, she looks inside to find one hundred dollars and another note. She also meets Brace, a patron who had lost track of time, whom she takes with her to the next rendezvous point.

Thus, as Sherlock Holmes would say, the game is afoot.

The great thing about Richard Laymon's novels lies in how much pure fun they are. I discovered this during the first book of his I read, Island, and in several of his short stories that I read subsequently. So, I was more than eager to read another novel. Seeing a promotional display for him at my local Borders, I picked up In the Dark and it more than lived up to my heightened expectations.

In the Dark is not only about the game, but also about how it affects Jane and her quickly-blossoming relationship with Brace. As the amount of money doubles each time, Jane becomes more obsessed with following the instructions in order to get to the next payoff, and more willing to do the increasingly strange things that are requested of her. At one point, about two-thirds in, the events in the story take an extremely disturbing turn really quickly, and things are never the same after.

Although, In the Dark is a real roller coaster ride, Laymon does leave us with an unsatisfying conclusion. However, the book is so freakishly cool that it is easy to forgive him. I'm not a fast reader, but I finished the majority of the 500 pages in just a few hours, and couldn't go to sleep the next night until I was finished. That alone assures that I will be dipping into more Laymon very soon.

(I'm also open to suggestions. Anyone who wants to recommend their favorite Richard Laymon work can reach me at craigsbookclub-at-yahoo-dot-com.)

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