I agree with Steve King, "if you missed Laymon you missed a treat." IMO, Laymon is the #1 top schlock writer of all time. He has been called "King without a conscience" and as others mentioned, his books are typically told in a straightforward fashion and rarely become philosophic in an expositional way. He is also one of the most offensive, goriest, pornographic mass market paperback writers to ever amass such a widespread international following! He died too young but still left a gigantic body of work, almost all of it top rate if you are into this kind of thing. Many Laymon readers find that when they discover Laymon, they immediately attempt to read everything he ever wrote, no easy task as much of it is rare (most of it never having been published originally in the USA due to a kind of blacklist). Indeed myself, I have purposely set aside a few Laymon books to read later in life, since he ain't writing any more.
But meanwhile, here are some recs:
THE BEAST HOUSE series of books is my favorite monster story set in Northern Carlifornia this side of John Carpenter's THE FOG. It comprises THE CELLAR, BEAST HOUSE, MIDNIGHT TOUR, FRIDAY NIGHT IN BEAST HOUSE, and another book called IN THE DARK. This represents Laymon at his finest, IMO, especially "In The Dark" which is not ostensibly part of the series but which if you are a careful reader, you will find actually it is a key part of the series and a hidden gem written by Laymon expressly as a wink to his truest fans
Laymon was also a writer's writer who tried damn near every genre trick in the book at one time or another, e.g.:
ENDLESS NIGHT - the first 70+ pages of this book are one long unbroken scene of horror the likes of which I have never seen in another book or on film
SAVAGE - a historical novel in old time flavor based on Jack the Ripper coming to America
ISLAND - written entirely as the journal of a shipwrecked man
BEWARE - as close to breakneck paced 70s grindhouse exploitation madness as you are likely to find in print
FLESH - progenitor of flicks like Night Of The Creeps and Slither
FUNLAND - taking care of the homeless problem in Santa Cruz
QUAKE - psychopath makes the best of the big one
RESURECTION DREAMS - Laymon's modern take on Frankenstein
Laymon has written several vampire novels, and astoundingly each of them remains a unique take on the tired genre: THE STAKE, BITE, and TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW
He also has repeatedly visited themes of homeless maniacs, people who have secret criminal vices pursued for kicks, and plotlines that include one ludicrous unforseeable turn after the next. Some of those faves include NO SANCTUARY and NIGHT IN THE LONESOME OCTOBER
Laymons is also great in short form and has dozens of short stories, many collected in sets like FIENDS, DREADFUL TALES, and MADMAN STAN
He even wrote a terrifying and probably grossly inapporpriate kids book called THE HALLOWEEN MOUSE
Laymon is a rabbit hole and IMO he is in a league apart from other notable schlockers like Ed Lee, Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene, Bentley Little,
I wish someboyd like John Carpenter or Tarantino would adapt some Laymon to film but frankly, his books are so ****ed up that I suppose that is the main reason there has never been a Laymon movie
wuw, thanks for the reminder! weird though, if a randomer had asked i would have said no i'm not a laymon fan, yet looking at my books i've got quite a few of his, have to go with Funland as a favourite (which i'm going to start on right now after this reminder). Trolling *cringe* Also loved the advice, "Calm down, you'll live longer." Truer words and all that jazz.
I am probably one of the biggest Laymon fans on the planet. I have damn near read all of his work and somehow canít get enough. I love his no holds barred and straight to the point style of writing. His novels are always gripping and fun to read. I know some readers may be turned off by his shocking depictions of gore and sex but to me that was his style and it worked work in the context of the tale. After all he was a Splatterpunk writer and knew what his fans liked about work the fact that he didnít hold back but always had an awesome tale to tell and they were always enjoyable. Of course there is more to his stories than that, his great characterization, believable dialogue creating characters who feel real and you care about , his fast paced style his way of turning a simple idea into a rollercoaster ride that you darenít put down. His stories grab you from the beginning and no matter how horrifying or brutal they become you canít stop reading. He could write scenes so suspenseful that you turned the pages so fast you leave begun makers, and he would write scenes so chilling your soul turns to ice. That is why to be Laymon is the number two guy behind King.
Behind King Laymon for years has been my number two writer and I donít think thatíll ever change.
For anyone who has never read his work I would recommend the following and these are also some of my favourites by him.
Night In The Lonesome October
Endless Night (this book is impossible to put down)
just finished 'endless night' a few weeks back, and yes, indeed, it is one fantastic, wild roller coaster of a book: huge...but about as fast paced a anything i've ever read by any one any time..and near completely unputdownable
could not possibly agree more with everyones thoughts about laymon...one of the very best storytellers out there...have enjoyed, immensely, every book i've read.
i'm smack dab in the middle of 'among the missing' at this moment. another great ride.
read 'body rides' just before '11/22/63'
i have been on the lookout, since the late '80's, when gary brandner sort of disappeared off the face of the world, for a great, pulpy, fearless horror writer...and, try as i might, i never found anyone like that until i found laymon...
thanks for all the info...now, i'll have to start searching for some more stuff...i'm down to just two more before i exhaust my meager collection
Hi, glad I found this thread. I've just recently started reading Laymon, my first book being the uncut version of 'The Woods Are Dark' - loved it. As many of you have commented his style is very fast paced and uncompromising but I'm now nearly half way through 'The Cellar' and while the story is good, I just can't shake feeling disgusted at Laymon's descriptions of child molestation - it's almost ruining the read for me. I like the fact that Laymon is hard-hitting with the horror and gore and I'm no prude...but the other stuff just feels downright wrong. I know Sai King would never go there. I'll finish the book but for my next Laymon read I'd like something with the fast paced thrills of 'The Woods Are Dark' and not something with descriptions of child molestation in. Baring this in mind can anyone recommend a next Laymon read?
santa be veddy, veddy gud to me: i recieved a plethora of monsieur laymon... i shall be indulging in one of my newest, most favorite hobbies for some time to come
the kindly book elves filled my oversized stocking with...out are the lights, the lake, resurrection dreams, to wake the dead, one rainy night, alarums, night show, island, beware, come out tonight, cuts, the midnight tour, night in the lonesome october and no sanctuary....
i mention this not to make anyone envious...no...but because the elves used amazon and got all of them used...at incredibly low prices: in most cases, far less than current cover prices, if you can find them: Rl is, for the most part, out of print...and the few new ones i can find are imports with pretty steep price tags: i was able...er...the elves were able to get 2-3 books used for the price of one british import...
all are in very good condition: not mint, but, hey...if you can't find 'em to begin with...why not, right ?!!
so, if you are looking for some laymon, and you simply cannot find it...i cannot more highly recommend trying some of the online used dealers...
...now, if i can only decide on which one to go first...hmmm....