Kristen's Reviews > In the Dark

In the Dark by Richard Laymon
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Aug 07, 08

bookshelves: horror
Read in August, 2008

So you’re a loner type who has let your figure go a bit flabby while you work at the local library. Suddenly one day you find an envelope with your name on it sitting on your chair. You open it to find a clue, much like a scavenger hunt and a fifty dollar bill. What do you do? Why you develop a penchant for culottes, stick a malfunctioning switchblade in the breast pocket of your blouse and start hunting for the next clue… of course you need to find a token hot guy that can actually answer all of the clues for you because you’re a bit of an idiot, (fashion sense aside) and as the money doubles with each envelope you need to leave your sanity aside because things are about to get hairy.

How far would you be willing to go for money? How much danger would you be willing to face for four hundred dollars? Eight hundred? Sixteen hundred? Are you willing to fight nasty animals? Tromp about in spooky houses? Break and enter? How about murder? The game starts out innocently enough; an envelope here or there with money in it and a clue leading Jane, the local librarian, to the next envelope with double the money. The mysterious individual leaving the envelopes identifies him or her self only as MOG or Master of Games. Jane falls hook line and sinker for the game, not that she’s poor and dying for the money (it almost would have been more believable if she had a dying child at home that she needed money to cure or something.) Jane is bored, so very bored, and lonely. She’s apparently been without proper companionship for quite some time… so her mysterious benefactor is not only adding a bit of excitement to her life, (along with the cash and danger) but allows her a level of fantasy about a mysterious admirer who just might really love her. But she has Brace – the ridiculously named man she met at the library after receiving her first note… is he in on it? It seems rather convenient that he showed up just after the first note… can she trust him? Lucky for her she met him though because he seems to know the answers to all of MOG’s clues, and of course he has to be around for Jane to have all of the necessary Laymon-esque fantasies and sex scenes.

“In the Dark” is a fast read for just under 500 pages; the concept of the game is fun to read about, although you won’t be able to guess any of the clues on your own because they all lead to places in the town that the story takes place in. It is fun to see just how far Jane is willing to go for such a pitiful amount of money, true it doubles each time… but I assure you that most of you would have a much higher price to do what she does, if you would be willing to do it at all. As a character, Jane is a complete dolt… she’s selfish, immature, and seems to think she’s funny when she’s more irritating than anything, on top of that she apparently only owns culottes, her panties are always sweaty, her nipples tend to always be sensitive, and she apparently walks around with her boobs way out in front because they get injured or nearly injured about once every 5 pages or so. She’s also a ridiculously deep sleeper, without the common sense to change the locks on her doors after someone has been in and out of her house at will. Brace, our token male hero or bad guy in disguise (you never can tell with Laymon) is a Lit professor who is unbelievably tolerant of being slapped, punched, cut, stalked and beaten up for the love of a woman he has known for less than a week.

In the end I guess Laymon had to make Jane a selfish retard because if she had any sense the book would have been far shorter because after the graveyard incident a normal person would have said “screw this” and if Brace wasn’t such a forgiving guy, he wouldn’t have been able to tell her where to go for all of her clues. As a book, this was very entertaining, there was some gore which is typical of Laymon, but it doesn’t come until the last 150 pages or so of the book. As always with a Laymon book there is plenty of talk of women’s anatomy, rape, brutality against women, and lots of sex. Laymon does a wonderful job of making some of the scenes very creepy, what he does a terrible job at is wrapping up the story at the end and giving the reader a satisfying “Oh, I get it” moment. When MOG is revealed there is no explanation in regards to the game, the selection of Jane, or many other strange things. Still, even though the ending left a little to be desired, this was one of Laymon’s best books I have read so far. I recommend it for Laymon fans, and to fans of horror that can tolerate a stupid lead character and lots of talk about panties and breast sweat.
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message 1: by CatBookMom (new)

CatBookMom Thanks for the review. I can save myself the time I'd waste reading this book, and, from your comments, any of this author's other work.

"if she had any sense the book would have been far shorter because after the graveyard incident a normal person would have said “screw this”


message 2: by Kevin (last edited Feb 14, 2014 01:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kevin It's simply Laymons take on a "trickster".
A Trickster picks their prey at random, so no explanation is needed for why Jane was picked.

Info on Tickster demons can be found on the net or in a good book.

I got it, unfortunatley many others have not.


Jack Knight I have read a lot of comments about this book. In The Dark does have its flaws as does every other fiction novel I have read, but at the end of the day I read to be entertained and Laymon skips all the boring description—that a lot of writers use to fill pages—and gets on with the action. Loved it.


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