Book Review: In the Dark - by Richard Laymon

In the Dark, by Richard Laymon starts off rather quickly. A brief introduction to a later disturbing scene involving a dead dog, then we are introduced to Jane Kerry, a simple woman, head Librarian in the small town of Donnerville. Not much happens in the way of her life, but that soon changes in the first chapter. She finds an envelope addressed to her, encased inside is a 50 dollar bill and a note that tells her to "Look homeward Angel" and is signed by the 'Master of Games' - MOG. The chain of events has begun.

Looking inside a Thomas Wolfe novel she finds yet another envelope, this one contains a 100 dollar bill, and another note, again, signed by MOG. In the process of searching the library after hours, she comes across a man by the name of Brace. Teaming up, they decide to track the clues together and go on the hunt for more money and more sick and twisted games conducted by Mog. Brace, being a college professor is not without mystery, and Jane often doubts if he can be trusted or not, or possibly, he may even be Mog himself.

This book was a real page turner, much like all of Laymon's work, it's an easy read, and leaves a deep impression once you're through. Just when you think you've got it figured out another twist is thrown in to kick you off base and make you question it all over again. The games that Mog likes to play are dark, yet humorous. The places and adventures he sends Jane on are nail-biting and you find yourself asking what you would do in her situation. As the payments get higher and higher, the games become riskier - to the point Jane is questioning if there isn't anything she won't do for money.

By the time she is sent to a house based off a note of clues mentioning S. Vile, the book takes an even darker, and grotesque twist that you would never see coming. By the time you reach the end, twists and turns throughout the story will have your mind swarming and your nerves jumbled.

I have read a lot of Laymon books, and still have many to go, but so far, this is one of my top three favorites. I enjoy his stories immensely, all the characters are true to life, none of them read as false or made up, and one could easily identify with the protagonists. The way Laymon writes the inner conflicts and battles of subconscious with his lead characters is powerful and most readers will fall in love with them.

So, grab a copy of In the Dark, flip open the pages, turn to chapter one, and let the games begin. You won't be sorry.

- Krist

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