Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Stake: A corpse holds deadly secrets…” as Want to Read:
The Stake: A corpse holds deadly secrets…
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Stake: A corpse holds deadly secrets…

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  2,463 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
In an abandoned hotel in a Californian ghost town, horror writer Larry Dunbar and his friends make a chilling discovery. By chance they stumble on a coffin hidden under the stairs. Within lies the corpse of a naked female with a stake through it's heart. Though the find gives Larry the creeps he finds himself wondering about the dead woman. Was she the innocent victim of a ...more
Paperback, 506 pages
Published 1990 by Headline
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Stake, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Stake

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Adam Light
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When a horror author and his wife, along with their friends, visit Sagebrush Flats, a ghost town near their home, they stumble upon a truly bizarre discovery - the withered corpse of a woman with a stake driven through her heart. Was she a vampire? The only way to find out is to pull the stake, see if she reanimates.
The blurb on the back of this delightful novel ( in my opinion, one of Laymon's best) has to be one of the worst I have read
This book has several storylines woven together, and it t
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Most people select Richard Laymon's books because they want something fast-paced, incredibly violent, and action-packed.
Such people are likely to be disappointed by THE STAKE.
I, however, fall within the cadre of Laymon fans who consider this his best work. It's nice to see Laymon take his time with a story for a change, to fully flesh out his characters and really make readers invested in what happens to them. And the best part of the novel is that it's surprisingly meta, especially coming from
Oct 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not only is this a compelling horror novel, but it gives a great deal of insight into the writing process of a masterful horror writer.
Angel Erin
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a huge horror fan I am ashamed to admit that this is my first Richard Laymon read. For years I have seen his books in stores and I have heard that he is a great horror novelist. However, for some reason I never read one of his books before now. This won't be my last read by Richard Laymon either.

The Stake begins with Larry, his wife Jean, and another couple (Barbara and Pete) exploring a ghost town in Sagebrush Flats. In an abandoned hotel they find a woman naked in a coffin with a stake in h
Tanja Berg
This is my first Richard Laymon book and it probably won't be my last. Although I don't think I've ever read anything so cheesy and I'm almost ashamed to admit that I enjoyed this.

The main story line is that of horror-writer Larry, his wife Jean, best pal Pete and the latters wife Barbara. In a ghost town they find a casket, in which is a body with a stake through the heart. Later Larry and Pete return to retrieve the body. The idea is that Larry will write a non-fiction horror (vampire) story
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
** dropped at 45%**

Too slow and cliche, not for me.
Τι να πώ γι αυτό το βιβλίο. Είναι από τα πιο ζοφερά βιβλία που έχω διαβάσει. Αρκετές φορές σκέφτηκα να το αφήσω και να πιάσω ένα άρλεκιν για να αγαλιάσει η ψυχή μου. Αλλά και πάλι δεν ήθελα γιατί το άτιμο το βιβλίο είναι πολύ δυνατό. Σε πιάνει στην παγίδα του από το λαιμό, πνίγεσαι και δεν θες να το αφήσεις. Ο συγγραφέας δίνει ρεσιτάλ γραφής και περιγραφής τρομακτικών σκηνών. Όσοι θέλετε να ασχοληθείτε με αυτό το είδος βιβλίου τότε πάτρε το και διαβάστε το για να πάρετε μαθήματα. Δεν έχει βρυκόλ ...more
Joe Stamber
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, read-2013
Another preposterous load of nonsense from the master of that particular genre. Laymon had an uncomplicated style that is easily digested and fun to read. The Stake doesn't have a lot of horror in it, but the other Laymon hallmarks are here - female body parts in starring roles, unbelievably stupid characters and one extremely annoying one. Of course, all are essential to the plot. Laymon definitely falls into the guilty pleasure category and I really shouldn't be enjoying his books so much, but ...more
Rodrigo Tello
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Otra deliciosa historia de horror serie B, o Z, de las que nos tiene acostumbrados Laymon, donde no faltan las adolescentes libidinosas en apuro ni las situaciones más grotescas o asquerosas, o los asesinos en serie. Novela de vampiros sin vampiros. Es todo real, o todo existe solamente en la mente calenturienta del protagonista? Me gustaron los giros que fue dando la historia, a pesar de ponerse pesada por momentos remontó bastante hacia el final y eso hizo que le diera una estrella más. Final ...more
Feb 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published back in 1990, by the time Laymon knocked out `The Stake' he already had a fair old number of well received novels under his belt.

The tale finds itself predominantly focused around the character of Larry Dunbar, a horror writer of varying success, who as of yet has not quite broken through to the best sellers list. Larry Dunbar was obviously based on Laymon himself at this stage in his career, which adds an obvious warmth to the characterization as is so often the case with one o
Stephen Kozeniewski
There's a sexual peccadillo or technique called "edging" which basically involves bringing yourself or your partner right to the edge of climax and then backing off multiple times so that when release finally comes, it's incredible. THE STAKE is essentially the literary equivalent of edging. The climax of the book is a foregone conclusion within the first hundred pages or so, as Larry Dunbar, a horror author and (one supposes) a thinly veiled version of Laymon himself, discovers a desiccated cor ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
This is another book I would have to include on the shelf I keep considering adding...."horror sort of".

Let me first say that if you aren't familiar with the writer the synopsis of this book may mislead you. So I will try to correct any misconception/misperception.

I found very little about this book "horrifying" in the classical sense. The book's short synopsis leads one to believe that it's about a woman's body found with a stake through the heart and whether or not she's a vampire.

That is a
Brian Steele
Nov 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Although boring at times, this book has such a bizarre & unique premise, I simply HAD to finish it to see how Laymon was going to tie everything together. Two adult couples, suburban neighbors, find the body of a young woman who has been dead for near 20 years... with a stake in her chest. A slain vampire or the victim of murder by a madman? The entire book surrounds this mystery as the body is "stolen" later by the guys and hidden in the garage so the resident author can use it for inspirat ...more
Sep 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yvensong by: Jare
I really, really liked this story! I've only read a couple of other Laymon books, and so far, this is my favorite.

This is classic horror, not a typical vampire story. The pacing kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next. Is the body that Larry Dunbar, his wife and friends found, the body of a vampire? We follow the mystery with Dunbar as he finds out who she is and who may have put the stake in her. He tells himself that he's doing the research to help solve a horrendous crime and to
Jul 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've read a little less than half of Richard Laymon's 30-plus novels, so I can't say this with complete confidence, but this book is Laymon's crowning achievement. Unless I read something else by him that completely amazes me the way this book did, I'm giving this one the title. And that's saying something. Books like Endless Night , In The Dark and One Raint Night really blew me away. Laymon, when he is at his best, is one of the most interesting, demented and fun horrors writers I've come ...more
Helen Barton
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit slow to start and some of the character decisions are questionable but very enjoyable.
Nice combination of a vampire and violence-crime novel. It starts off as a typical vampire hunter story, then road trip with a horror writer in a horror story writing about it etc, then a coming of age story, several things that are combined quite nicely. There are at least 2 characters well made, the writer and his daughter. There's an issue of the flow of the action as there's isn't much at some point and then bang it happens. Also the villain doesn't make much sense, although I guess most cri ...more
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Der Klappentext verspricht eine spannende Vampirstory. Larry und seine Freunde finden in einer Geisterstadt in einem verlassenen Hotel eine mumifizierte Leiche in der ein Holzpfahl steckt. Sie beschließen den Sarg mitzunehmen und den Pfahl herauszuziehen...

Klang für mich nach einer tollen Ausgangssituation und ich war gespannt was danach passiert. Leider ist dieser Klappentext weniger die Grundidee zu diesem Buch als das Buch selbst. ;)

Die ersten Seiten lesen sich super, ein Prolog der viel ve
Patrick Lacey
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd heard from countless Laymon fans that THE STAKE is one of his best works. After reading it, I have to agree wholeheartedly. This is classic Laymon with a bit more character development than usual. You really wind up caring about the protagonists. And as always, there's a villain or two that are so despicable, you can't help but hope they get their much deserved slaying. There are two plots that at first seem unconnected but collide in one of my favorite endings I've read from this author. Hi ...more
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laymon proves himself the master of horror suspense on this one, starting slow and giving you just enough to hook you, prolonging the payoff. And just when you think there'll be no horror to the tale, he comes up with a slam-bang ending that's so unpredictable it's pitiful. Genius work.
Rebecca McNutt
No wonder Dean Koontz and Stephen King praised this book; The Stake was an incredibly eerie and well-written vampire novel with haunting imagery and complex characters. It's really creepy and definitely worth reading.
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe my favorite Laymon novel I've read so far. Nice twist on the vampire tale... especially in these days of glitter-coated vamps.
This would make a solid screenplay. There's sex, vampires, and a mystery -- enough twists to keep things interesting -- and a believable protagonist.
May 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of Laymon's best. The whole 'is it or isn't it a vampire' keeps the reader on their toes. The characters are all believable and well crafted.
Keith A
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my eighth Laymon book and out of the eight it had the best character development and best story telling, just not my favorite story.
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Stake is a vampire novel that really isn't a vampire novel. If you're looking for traditional bloodsucker fare then this isn't the book for you. Laymon tries a different approach to the whole vampire legend and in the hands of a more able author it may just have worked. Unfortunately, under Laymon's pen The Stake ended up as a drawn out damp squib of a book.

The story starts off with Larry, his wife Jean and their two friends Pete and Barbara taking a detour to a deserted ghost town on the wa
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Full review here:

If you're wanting something that will hold your attention but not really require much thought, give Laymon a try.
Mar 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
As a veteran Richard Laymon fan, I say with confidence that his novels are hit or miss. The Stake is, like Bite and The Traveling Vampire Show, a non-traditional vampire story that focuses on people's reactions to the idea of vampires instead of the vampire. Laymon explored this theme to great success in the former novels with his use of dark humor; however, the author's unconventional style of mixing comedy with horror is lacking in The Stake, which is written as more of a "traditional" horror ...more
Paula Brandon
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this for the first time barely into my teens was a scandalous experience! Sex! Rape! A stake to the throat! It was a real shock to the system after Point Horror and Mary Higgins Clark! This set me off on a path of reading Richard Laymon books, which continues to this day. The Stake delivers some of his best work in regards to character development. Too many of his books feature horny teenagers/20-somethings, but this one has adult characters mostly behaving like adults. The two story-lin ...more
Oct 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Two couples, including Dunbar the main character, explore a ghost town and find a body with a stake rammed through its chest. The story evolves around whether or not this girl is a vampire or was just thought to be so. At the same time another tale is told about Lane, Dunbar's teenage daughter, and her relationship with a teacher. This book kept me gripped throughout and I was interested in what was going on in both stories and enjoyed switching between the two as it help to keep the tension goi ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Midnight Mass
  • Live Girls
  • Triage
  • Death Day
  • Prey
  • Vampyrrhic
  • Monstrosity
  • The Association
  • Blood Red
  • Castaways
  • In Laymon's Terms
  • Ghoul  (Special X, #2)
  • House of Blood
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...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Bring a vampire around, people start discovering religion.” 40 likes
More quotes…