Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Written by Richard Laymon
Published by Leisure Books
It’s funny; there was a time when I thought Leisure was winding down on their Richard Laymon releases; ignorant I was of just how many books the man wrote during his career. Now I can’t wait for the next one, usually they’re a few months apart at most, because as the over-used quote from Dean Koontz on the front of every one of Leisure’s releases says, you’re going to have a fun time with anything he writes.
Beware is, of course, no exception; a fast moving, violent tale that shows Laymon at his absolute sharpest when it comes to creating a linear storyline that never stops running once it’s out of the gate. It begins with a shopkeeper in a small town believing her store to be haunted, plagued as she has been the last few nights by strange noises and things moving on their own. But if this is a ghost, it’s no ordinary one as it’s able to kill anyone who crosses its path in exceedingly violent ways.
A local girl is part of a group who follow the storeowner back to her shop after the first complaints, and is eyewitness to what it does to said proprietor a few days later. She’s shook up by the events and only wants to take her mind off of them at home, but when she gets there she soon realizes she’s not alone, and soon after that that what they’re dealing with is most certainly not a ghost. What it is in an insane local kid who got caught up with some dangerous cult people and managed to find a way to become invisible, and is now wreaking havoc anywhere he can.
Instead of going where you think he will, Laymon then turns the story on his ear as the girl enlists the help of a stranger who turns out to be the author of a famous series of crime novels, and the real-life PI who serves as the author’s inspiration. When the author finds out she’s dealing with an invisible man, he wants to make sure the man’s story is all his, seeing nothing but floating dollar signs from the get go. So instead of tracking down and killing this psycho, who’s obsessed with our heroine having been repeatedly shunned by her in high school, they actually protect him from the cult who made him invisible, at least until they get his story, because the cult is the one thing he fears.
Like most of Laymon’s speedy, fast-paced stories, there are many layers in Beware that are slowly peeled back as the tale progresses, something he really was a master at. Just when you think you have an idea of what’s going on, the author would throw a monkey wrench in the situation and turn it in a way you’ll likely never see coming, and that’s what makes his work so much fun to read.
There’s very little to complain about in Beware, it’s got all the elements that make a Laymon book such a kick in the ass; excessive violence, girls getting naked at the worst possible times, and an overabundance of the word “rump”. What more could you ask for?
4 1/2 out of 5
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