I should qualify my review by saying that I'm always looking for horror books with some literary merit as opposed to the usual mass-market trash. Unfortunately for me, this book is not literature by any step of the imagination. What frustrates me is that in Laymon I see little glimmers of brilliance that he promptly buries under crap. But anyway, here's a brief synopsis:
There's this weird small town that's been capturing strangers that pass through and feeding them to cannibalistic savages that live in the woods. Two college girls that stop in the diner find themselves chained to a tree along with a couple that stopped at a local motel, their teenage daughter, and her boyfriend. They escape with the help of one of the townspeople and the rest of the book involves them running around the woods trying to stay alive. The father really goes off the deep end, and his story ends up being kind of clever.
My biggest complaint about this book is the gratuitous sexual content. Almost none of it was relevant to the plot or plausible in any way. This seems to be a staple of the mass-market paperback, but one would think that the murderous cannibals would be enough to hold our attention. After a while, it became really stupid and offputting. At the end of the book, there are a couple chapters from Laymon's other book, "Beware," and it looks like this book follows along the same lines. I found myself thinking, "Wow. Dude writes an awful lot about rape."
The interesting thing about this book is that it was originally published in the 80's as a much different book. In the introduction, the author's daughter explains how her father's book was heavily changed by the publisher to the point that it didn't even make sense anymore. Richard Laymon always lamented that the manuscript had been revised so much that he would never be able to put it back to the way it was. His daughter did a whole lot of digging, and was able to piece it back together, and here it is. From how the original is described, it certainly sounds like this is an improvement.