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The Lake

3.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,516 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
Leigh is young, rebellious and beautiful - and she yearns for a summer of excitement by the lake. Maybe she'll find it in the arms of the handsome boy who rows her out to the abandoned beach house. Or maybe she'll stumble into a legacy of terror which will shatter her life...

Eighteen years on, Deana has no knowledge of her mother's troubled past and not that much interest.
Published December 6th 2004 by Headline (first published April 5th 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,500)
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Adam Light
Jul 21, 2015 Adam Light rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh man. What did I just read? What a convoluted mess this is. I get it, though. This was released posthumously, and I figure Laymon had some story notes that he never arranged into a cohesive plot, and someone unwisely filled in the blanks and released it to make a few bucks. What a shame. I pat myself on the back for seeing it through, but that's pretty much a couple of days I will never get back. I need to read a real Laymon novel now, to cleanse my pallette.
Best advice: steer clear of this on
Nick Iuppa
Nov 17, 2015 Nick Iuppa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intricately plotted horror thriller about the aftermath of a tragic accident that happens on a lake in Wisconsin in the late 60s.The event itself is made even worse by the fact that the victim comes from a family of homicidal lunatics.

18 year old Berkeley-hippie-radical Leigh is sent by her conservative parents to visit her aunt and uncle in the Wisconsin lake country where she meets shy but sexy Charlie. He gets her pregnant before he falls to his death through the rotting boards of an old aba
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
Richard Laymon has always been a much revered horror author, choosing as his style to employ horror, shock effects, and sexuality in his work. Unfortunately, The Lake is not a book worth praising. Suspense is there, but it’s scarce, and frankly the reader doesn’t really care. I couldn’t get over the bizarre plot, the too unbelievable coincidences, and I could loan even less forgiveness to the hideous characterization.

It’s a rule in the publishing world that the ! sign be kept to a minimum. Also,
Apr 02, 2012 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Note: This is taken from my review on Amazon.

I've read and own most of Laymon's work. I'm definitely a fan. However, this book didn't do it for me.

For starters, the plot felt very contrived and very loosely strung together. There was too much going on to take it seriously. One after another, improbable events keep happening. There was so much going on, it seems like he could have fleshed it out into two or even three different books. Instead, he tried to tie it all into "The Lake." There were a
Feb 21, 2013 Kasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Call me crazy but I loved this book! I walked by it three times, on three separate occasions and hesitated based on the lukewarm and bad reviews it got here but I'm happy I finally got the guts to trust my own instinct and I got it anyway.

Laymon writes some pretty gory, intense and horrific scenes and this book started with one of them. If you don't like that kind of a book, then stick to gentler Dean Koontz, whom I also like and who suits more people's palates. In a nutshell this story is abou
I can't fairly give this a rating but I will say what I think about it. I won't rate it because I think it clearly remains unfinished. My buddy thinks that Laymon just used this book to develop ideas for other books and I think that may be true. It centers around Leigh and Deana, a sexy-but-stupid mother-daughter combo. Leigh had a bit of a crazy time back in the day at beautiful Lake Wahconda, and now things have come back to bite her in the ass. The story here is a mess, but like I said, I don ...more
Sep 22, 2008 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm seriously hoping that "The Traveling Vampire Show" and "Beast House" are better than this. Granted, I've read that this is Laymon's worst book - I hope so indeed. Characters do completely idiotic things to get captured by the killer... at one point I think Laymon just plain ran out of gas on where to go next. Add in a killer chef (?!?!) and a middle portion that reads like THE BLUE LAGOON!

Jeremy Hurd-McKenney
Boobs are the real star of this book. Laymon's teen boy breast fetish is on full display here, probably more so than any other of his books that I've read. Every female character except for the grandmother has their firm, pendulous breasts out more often than they don't, and even when covered, backs arch to thrust bosoms outward, sultry nights cause perspiration to drip erotically down chests, nipples harden at every passing breeze or accidental touch of a cool sheet. It got a little ridiculous. ...more
Apr 10, 2011 Charlie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley, horror
The Lake is a chaotic and creepy horror that will likely have readers flipping through the pages out of pure curiosity to see what happens next. Laymon’s rumored forgotten tale is packed with a hatchet-wielding chef, a backwater mama’s boy, hormonal teens, a spooky old-folks home and a sicko serial killer hell bent on revenge. On the receiving end of all this terror are a mother and daughter. Yes, they experience an accidental death, blamed for murder, witness a boyfriend’s murder, are beat up, ...more
Mar 11, 2011 Dan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Really awful. Like really bad. And i have a high tolerance for bad (notice 2 stars, not 1). The background behind this book is that apparently it was found in the desk drawer after the author died. So I can only hope that either 1. it was in the process of undergoing MAJOR revisions when the author passed away or 2. it was meant as a brainstorming, let-me-work-out-some-thoughts piece as a way to get the idea juices flowing and was never meant to see the light of day.

The reason it got 2 stars in
Mar 10, 2012 Sena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I seem to be going back and forth with not knowing if I should rate this book a 2 or 3 I'm just going to be nice and rate it at three stars. It wasn't exactly bad, but there were a few issues that I had with the book. First was highly predictable. You could see the connections a mile off....but for some reason I felt the need to continue reading just in case I was wrong and the author had some final twist to throw out. I was wrong. Secondly, there were several incidents in th ...more
Tara Calaby
Apr 03, 2010 Tara Calaby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one. Please, if you want to try Laymon, do NOT try this.
Shelves: adult-fiction, horror
This is one of three books published after Richard Laymon's death. The other two (The Glory Bus and, to a lesser extent, Amara) are worthy of being saved from his unpublished manuscript pile. The Lake is not.

This is a dreadful book. It's disjointed, confusing, clichéd, uninteresting and just plain bad. It feels like the roughest of rough drafts, but one that was discarded for being too bad to bother editing. Possibly, had a ghost writer been brought in to whip the bare bones into shape, a decent
John Bruni
Feb 26, 2016 John Bruni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is proof that Laymon delivers even on an off day. It's a great story of generational violence and madness. Plus he gives us this weird twist in the middle that doesn't seem to have anything to do with the rest of the story. It sticks out like a sore thumb, but it's amazing. However, unlike a lot of other books of his, this one isn't a smooth ride. I don't think he had a lot of control on this one. There are no curves, just spikes running up and down. Also, there's a bit too much coinci ...more
Feb 02, 2011 Christie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This almost never happens to me. I couldn’t finish this book. It was CRAP…I mean, crap in the sense that it was poorly written, unbelievable and stupid…not crap in the sense of lots of fun- the sort of entertainment I generally read quickly in between books. Sort of a palate cleaner.

I bought it on the bargain table and paid very little for it…but 100 pages in I wish I’d saved my money.

So, I went looking for book reviews…and strangely, other people seemed to like it.

"This totally absorbing crime
William M.
Jun 28, 2011 William M. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror

While it breaks my heart to give this book such a mediocre review, the laughable plot twists in the last third of the book leave me no choice. Having a police detective disguise his voice to his partner and his lover and get away with it is ridiculous. Coincidences stack on top of each other like hotcakes, and the only real suspense lies in the first half. There's even a scene where the phone line is cut and then a few chapters another character tries to use the phone and, guess
Feb 04, 2008 Jacobi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who stick hot needles in their eyes for fun
Shelves: books-read
I wrote a longer review of this, but goodreads stalled on me, and I hated this book too much to do it again.

Let's just say, this book was awful. God awful. Full of convenient coincidences, uneven and false-acting characters, and boring "bad guys".

I'm not going to let this book ruin my love of the Laymon, but I don't think I'll be reading another of his books for a while. Have to let this wound heal. If you're in the mood for some horror/thriller as done by Laymon give Traveling Vampire Show or
Mar 15, 2009 Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spooks
It was a page turner merely due to the fact that I was hoping for more character development and explanations on how these characters all were brought together in the small area of Del Mar. This book has severe undeveloped characters and random scenarios (i.e. the creepy bone-fingered lady lurking in the shadows and that dark retirement home for crones?????) I would have loved more on Sheena, since she is the source of the story's madness. However, I keep getting sucked into Laymon books for qui ...more
Nov 25, 2014 Greg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the 3rd Laymon book I've read. The others were not great literature, but they were competent. This is garbage.

After perusing the other reviews here last night, I see it was published posthumously. I can't imagine Laymon would've wanted this see the light of day. It reads like a rough draft, at best.

The only positive is that it kept me reading until the very end. I was caught up in the meta-suspense of whether the various fragments of story would come together and pay-off. They don't.

Sep 19, 2014 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Reviewed first at Brunner's Bookshelf

I have heard a lot of good things about Richard Laymon's books. A few are even sitting on my to-read shelf. I was browsing through the available horror audio downloads on my library's web site and came across this. The description sounded interesting so I thought why not. This book was a middle of the road kind of novel.

There were some interesting spots that held my attention and kept it from being dull, but at the same time there were a few things I just di
Danny Marshall
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 26, 2013 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well lets see, not my favorite Laymon book by far. I don't hate it but it is very long, the story jumps around with too many flashbacks and dreams. It sometimes feels like Laymon was having a hard time bringing the sub-stories together.

I know this was published posthumous and I have the feeling someone either Laymon's daughter or Dean Koontz or the publisher wrote parts in to make it complete/

Overall a pretty good story line and likable characters.
First time reading Laymon's work. I did enjoy his quick writing , no frills no fluff, straight ahead. A little long on the sex scenes. Again why do characters always put themselves in obvious harms way? It was an ok read.
Aug 14, 2011 Timothy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The worst Richard Laymon book I've read so far. He usually has some pretty ridiculous things going on but this one went too far with predictable coincidences, characters falling in love ridiculously fast, and a couple rather strange characters thrown in who really have no importance to the story.
Feb 01, 2014 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers, horror
A pretty good page turner, although not his best work. I was entertained and wanted to find out what happened to the characters, but this book is kind of like eating potato chips--you keep munching on, but at the bottom of the bag--you don't say, 'man that was the best bagochips I've ever had'.
Ashley James
May 31, 2014 Ashley James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: richard-laymon
Whilst I understand the people who didn't enjoy this book I think that a lot of the reviews are very harsh granted the story is very far fetched and things come together in a very unrealistic way but at the same time this is a Richard Laymon novel its almost to be expected I think maybe a lot of people are going into this book with the reviews in mind and looking for faults I personal enjoyed it and would put it on par with a lot of his other books to me this is way better than cuts by Richard L ...more
Apr 08, 2016 Tam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: richard-laymon
If I had not previously read a few of Laymon's other works, I might have found this story more satisfying than I did. This read more like a Lifetime movie and less like a creepily-crafted, Laymon masterpiece. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a good Lifetime movie. But, I have come to expect Chiller TV from Laymon, and this book was NOT it. The plot was predictable and a little gimmicky. Where was the heart pounding, the spine tingling, the creep factor that stood the hairs on the back of my neck on en ...more
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
** Spoilers ahead**

I expected more thrill from Laymon. I love his books and he is one author whose books I pick up whenever I see them at my bookstore. He let me down with The Lake though. I thought it was a horror book but it turned out to be a fictional crime story.

The story is catchy from the beginning but I was getting confused with all of the dreams/daydreaming going on between the characters. Sometimes I had to go back a page or 2 to figure out if this was really happening or i it was a d
Kathy Jackson
So I finally finished this book tonight. It is one that was published after Richard Laymon died and I will admit it isn't probably one of his best. Let me share what Goodreads says about it:

one of several unpublished novels left behind by horror master Richard Laymon (iFlesh, Funland, The Traveling Vampire Show,/i et al.) when he passed away in 2001 -- is an unabashedly erotic and brutally violent thriller that follows the lives of a single woman and her wild-child daughter and chronicles the u
Mar 13, 2010 chucklesthescot rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror
Leigh is an 18 year old looking for fun on her vacation, and becomes involved in a relationship with the handsome, reserved boy who lives there. They have to keep things secret from his strange mother but when disaster strikes, Leigh has to flee home with traumatic memories to suppress. Now years later, she is a mother to a teenage girl and something from her past is coming back to haunt them both.

I was surprised to read that this is thought of as his worst book as for me it was one of his best.
Jun 03, 2008 Kristen rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
It is my understanding that this book was published after Laymon passed away. I can understand why he would have held this book back from his publishers... there is a lot still to be done to make this a good book.

Short summary: Leigh is the major character here... we follow her both through her escapade as an 18 year old and then again when she is in her 30's and her daughter is a teen. Leigh is a single mom who went through some bizarre events when she was a teen which lead to her single mom-ho
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Richard Laymon was born in Chicago and grew up in California. He earned a BA in English Literature from Willamette University, Oregon and an MA from Loyola University, Los Angeles. He worked as a schoolteacher, a librarian, and a report writer for a law firm, and was the author of more than thirty acclaimed novels.

He also published more than sixty short stories in magazines such as Ellery Queen,
More about Richard Laymon...

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