In Richard Laymon's latest re-released book, Dark Mountain, the reader finds himself (or herself) in familiar territory with a plot that focuses on ordinary people who encounter nasty things in the woods. In fact, many of the elements of Dark Mountain will seem familiar to Laymon fans, but that won't diminish the end result: another nasty yet entertaining book.
For the divorced Scott, a camping trip to the mountainous forests of California is a perfect chance to get away with his new girlfriend Karen and have her bond with his kids, Julie and Benny. Julie is a sullen teenager, while Benny is the fantasy-loving pre-teen. Also along for the trip is Scott's friend Flash and Flash's family, including teenage son - and soon to be Julie's love interest - Nick. Unfortunately, the woods they visit are already occupied by an old woman with supernatural powers and her monstrous son who wants to rape and murder every woman he sees; it is an urge that not even his mother can stop.
Although you might expect that the story would involve an increasingly desperate battle between the campers and their stalkers, Laymon throws a twist in: by the halfway point, the two families are safely back home. Actually, "safe" may be overstating things, as new problems beset them and force a return to the woods for a final confrontation.
In many ways, this is standard Laymon material, with vicious villains and an obsession with sex (and no end to the descriptions of female anatomy). Yet, in a way, this is almost a kinder, gentler Laymon, with a slightly more restrained level of violence. But only long-time Laymon fans will notice that difference, and even they won't be disappointed in the final result. Dark Mountain may not be for everyone, but horror fans should be pleased with it.