Alarums

Melanie Conway is a pale and lovely violinist who has strange visions of death. When she crashes to the floor during a concert her boyfriend, Bodie, is at hand to hear her fearful premonition of disaster... Penelope Conway is even more stunning than her sister but her looks frequently get her into trouble. Although she takes herself seriously as a writer, men only seem impressed by her beauty. The last thing she needs is a series of obscene phone calls... Captivated by these two alluring sisters, Bodie finds himself drawn deep into a strange mystery that is fired by sex and haunted by blood.
Views: 152

Marathon

A marathon: 26 miles and 385 yards. The greatest running test. Just finishing the race is enough for most runners. But not for Rod Claymore. He's out to win---whatever the cost.
Views: 151

The Halloween Mouse

From Publishers WeeklyHere's another Halloween offering from Cemetery Dance, which, with last year's anthology October Dreams and the forthcoming anthology Trick or Treat, plus last year's Richard Laymon novel, Once Upon a Halloween, is emerging as a notable publisher of Halloween-related fiction. This is a slight tale, suitable for all ages but of primary interest to kids, about the adventures of one Timothy Maywood Usher Mouse. Timothy lives in a public library and yearns for the sort of adventure he's read about in the books that surround him. One day he works up his courage and leaves his shelter through a window, only to encounter a snake (that he fools with a piece of candy corn), trick-or-treaters and a cat, which he escapes by taking refuge in a jack-o'-lantern that rolls into a local river. When last seen, Timothy is sailing to unknown shores, enjoying the world from his perch atop the jack-o'-lantern's nose. Laymon, who died in February, is known for his meandering, you-are-there plots and tight, sensual writing. Here, though, the meandering seems almost arbitrary, offering just one obstacle after another thrown in the path of the intrepid mouse, and the prose lacks Laymon's usual punch and precision. Much more effective are Clark's full-color illustrations, which capture the mystery, magic and delicious terror of Halloween via bold, intense colors and dramatic angles of view. While it's not a major addition to Halloweeniana, this volume will appeal to Laymon completists, Clark fans and anyone who can't get enough of America's second-favorite holiday. Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Views: 150

Once Upon a Halloween

It's Halloween night. The old Witherspoon house stands all alone in the dark, the last house on a dead-end street. Its only neighbors are thick woods and a moonlit graveyard. Not long ago, a grisly murder/suicide took place in the house. Now, it is said to be haunted. Haunted but no longer abandoned. Three years ago, Laura and Shannon moved in. They're young, pretty, friendly... and, best of all, generous with candy on Halloween. Tonight, they're getting ready for a costume party. Shannon is upstairs getting dressed and Laura is downstairs handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. It's a perfect Halloween night until Laura opens the door and finds herself facing a lone teenaged boy... a terrified boy who says: "Let me in! They're gonna get me!" And, for Laura and Shannon, the party begins. It's Halloween night and there are ghosts and goblins in the streets. And something much worse in the graveyard.*** From Publishers Weekly Laymon and Halloween. That sounds like a perfect mix, with the author of the gleefully malevolent The Traveling Vampire Show (Forecasts, Apr. 24) taking on the spookiest night of the year. But his fans know that Laymon can be erratic, sometimes delivering shocking yet emotionally astute entertainments, at other times turning in tangled terrors drenched in sex and gore. The latter, unfortunately, more closely describes his new novel, despite its fast, smart start, in which horror descends like a howling banshee on two young women dispensing candy to trick-or-treaters. A teen boy, Hunter, comes banging on Shannon and Laura's door, claiming he's being chased by a pack of naked adults-witches? Soon the house is under attack by nude sword- and axe-wielding maniacs. A local dad escorting a bunch of kids gets caught in the ensuing mayhem, which features numerous cuttings and, in time, the spectacle of Shannon and Laura stripped and trussed together in the local graveyard as the villains prepare for human sacrifice. Laymon ups the ante to supernatural horror by tossing in a homicidal spirit who's haunting Shannon and Laura's house, but that element only adds to the confusion already made rampant through frenzied racing and chasing by too many characters who don't grow from beginning to end, despite their ordeals. Laymon boasts an intensely loyal following, so this novel will likely sell out its limited print run, but while his fans will love the richly depicted seasonal setting and Laymon's ability to make pages riffle as if in high wind, they'll also sense that, ultimately, this is one sputtering jack o'lantern.
Views: 149

The Cobra

Blake Douglas was a smart undercover cop. He knew he had only one chance to bust this group of terrorists. He'd have to become the Cobra---their top assassin. But he couldn't have known how attracted he'd be to one of the terrorists. What was he going to do about Lana?
Views: 138

Shootout at Joe's

Joe's. People in Windville love that old diner at the far end of town. For them, coming to Joe's is a way of life. It may soon be a way of death.
Views: 134

Blood Games

They meet up for one week every year: Helen, Cora, Vivian, Finley and Abilene - five former co-eds in search of thrills and adventure. Just like they enjoyed together at college. This time it's Helen's choice. Helen, the fat girl with a taste for horror, the brainy one with a fear of being caught alone in the shower by an unknown assailant with a sharp knife and a thirst for blood... For this year's reunion, Helen has picked The Totem Pole Lodge, a deserted hotel in the backwoods with a sinister past. She's looking forward to the moment when she'll tell the others the gory details. But that's before night falls and the girls find the Lodge is not as deserted as they thought. And before Helen goes into the shower. Alone.*** From Publishers Weekly In the early 1990s, as the horror market bottomed in the U.S., several established American authors, including Laymon (To Wake the Dead, etc.), were unable to find domestic publishers for their work. Laymon continued to hit bestseller lists overseas during this period, though, and this is one of the novels he wrote during that time. Like so much of his mid-career work, it's a middling effort, and it's also a mixed bag-nearly literally, as it offers a present-day scenario interspersed with flashbacks that are, in effect, standalone short stories. In the present, five young alumni of Belmore University are on their annual get-together; this year, the choice of what to do has fallen to Helen, a horror buff, who arranges for the group to camp out at a deserted backwoods lodge where guests were slaughtered by locals several years back. In time, the group encounter various townsfolk, including a witch, whom they must fight for their lives, resulting in a characteristic Laymon bloodbath. The action here is fast but predictable. Of greater interest are the flashbacks, showing first how the gang got together, then detailing their various exploits-taking revenge on some frat guys by setting fire to their house, on a cruel dean by trashing her office, on a nasty homeowner on Halloween by destroying his living room; seducing a young male surfer during a foggy nighttime trip along the California coast, etc. It's in these scenes that Laymon displays some, but not much, of the surreal nightmarish sensibility that hallmarked his great later work (The Traveling Vampire Show, etc.). Overall, then, this is brisk but routine entertainment from the controversial author, who died in 2001.
Views: 133

Dawson's City

Pick one, grab, and run. Tony Matheson makes his living snatching purses. But one of these days he's going to grab the wrong one.
Views: 131