Resurrection Dreams (Book)

Written by Richard Laymon

Published by Leisure Books

This book is a really good example of how even the worst book by Richard Laymon can be still leaps and bounds above other authors.

Don’t get me wrong, Resurrection Dreams is not a bad book, in fact I found it to be a pretty fun page-turner that I was able to blow through in record time, it’s just not the kind of story that really sits with you for a few days after you finish it the way Laymon’s best tends to do.

Back in high school, Vicki Chandler was the only person in school who was ever nice to Melvin Dobbs. Though she viewed him as a bit off, which is incredibly mild compared to how some of the other kids saw him, she thought he was a nice enough guy. Just a bit…different. That is, until he decided to try and bring the corpse of one of their recently dead schoolmates back to life via a dentist chair and a car batter…in the middle of the school science fair. Needless to say, young Melvin went to a very special place for a few years after that.

Jump forward ten years, and Vicki is on her way back to her hometown to assist the local doctor in his private practice. Medical school was good for her, she’s more confident and has a good career to look forward to, not to mention her best friend since elementary school, Ace (aka Alice). But Melvin is back, too, deciding to try and make a life for himself in the sleepy little town, and he really wants to thank Vicki for all the times she was nice to him when others weren’t. Hell, he’d even go so far as to, say, bring someone back from the dead and use them to take out someone who throws beer at Vicki during an altercation.

Seems Melvin’s gotten more adept, and less public, with his attempts to resurrect the flesh, and soon he has a zombie that’s more than willing to shower him with affection and kindness as long as he doesn’t mind some nasty chomping while they’re doing the deed. But his zombie love slave isn’t enough for Melvin, he wants the one girl he knows he has no chance with, and he’s willing to do lots more messed-up stuff to bring her to him.

What we have here are some amazingly, at least for Laymon, cardboard-cutout characters that really never do anything you wouldn’t expect such a generic character to do. Melvin’s crazy and just wants to be loved, Vicki is just trying to live a normal life, Ace is the tough-as-nails best friend who sticks up for Vicki, you get the picture. What makes the story work is the way in which Laymon tells it, of course. He doesn’t mess around with secrets or shocking reveals (well, just one that caught me very off guard, but I’ll leave that for you to find), but instead puts all the horror right up front for the reader to either take in and follow along with him, or get scared and run away from. If you’re reading Laymon, chances are you’re stomach is already about as tough as the come so I’ll bet you’ll be staring this horror down face-to-face.

Like I mentioned previously, the pace is very quick and things move along real smooth from start to finish. There’s very little time for our characters to catch their collective breaths once things get rolling along and when the final events unfold you’re swept along so easily you almost forget to put the damn thing down to go to the bathroom. I know I almost missed my train stop more than once because of this book.

So you may be confused. On one hand I say it’s a fun, faced paced read that sounds really cool to you, no doubt. On the other I say the characters are fairly one-dimensional and there’s no real surprises. So which is it? Well, it’s a mixture of both that winds up coming out pretty damn cool in the end, like a well-blended gin and tonic. There’s just enough tonic in there to cut the nasty taste of gin, but you’ve got enough alcohol that you feel it nice & quick. And hey, it’s Rich Laymon, can the man even write a bad book?

3 out of 5

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