Straight from the start this is typical Laymon, hard, fast and tension-filled.
Jody Fargo is sixteen and having a sleepover at her friend Evelyn’s house when Evelyn hears something and wakes Jody up. Evelyn tries to persuade Jody to go with her to check on the noise, or wake up her father for him to check, when a huge fat man enters the bedroom and puts a spear through the middle of Evelyn. He mustn’t have seen Jody because he leaves with Evelyn skewed on his pole and joins his friends having fun killing Evelyn’s parents. Jody rushes to Evelyn’s little brother’s bedroom and finds his alive, together they must escape the group of killers in a run for their lives that will last much longer than just the night…
The two young survivors are stalked by the serial killer Simon Quirt, one of the gang of killers who massacred Evelyn’s family, with only Jody’s dad, a cop, and his female friend to help them.
Tightly written, fast-paced and action-packed, Laymon manages to squeeze a whole load of tension into the three hundred pages. The characters are all pretty good, but film good, not Stephen King good.
The main killer Simon Quirt gets his own piece of the action, recording his thoughts on a tape recorder throughout so we get his warped version of events, which helps no end at cranking up the tension.
As with other Laymon novels it’s got a very film-like quality, simple story, action-driven plot, tense edge of your seat stuff. Standard Laymon is still better than most horror novels. But there’s no depth, little character development. You finish reading the book thinking that was good, and you have been entertained, but that’s it.
OK, so some bits are a little ridiculous, but are there to help the story along or work to increase the tension and feel a bit heavy handed. But they still work.
From the Laymon canon this is slightly above average, but he always delivers. The last Laymon book I read, Blood Games, wasn’t a patch on this. It you like your books fast, action-packed and gruesome then you can’t go far wrong, just don’t expect a masterpiece.