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Laymon-- In This Case, Lame Man
on October 30, 2002
I am always on the lookout for horror novels, and I was drawn to Laymon by Amazon.com's reader reviews. Having only read "Traveling Vampire," I'm not yet ready to dismiss Laymon...but I'm close. His setup is marvelous: the relationship among Dwight, Slim and Rusty is entertaining and rings true (Stephen King, anyone?).
But this book (my next read is "Bite" -- we shall see) is a total cheat. Not only does the constant back and forth of the day become tedious, but there is no payoff. For example: is Valeria really a vampire? lt's suggested that she is not. In that case, are we to assume that a mortal can triumph in all of these battles in the "cage?" There are frequent allusions to what Dwight and Rusty have done "in secret." Nothing is resolved. Bitsy is frighteningly sexual and violent: nothing is resolved (including her disapperance at the end). Stryker and most of his crew are killed (Slim calmly announces that she has slit their throats), yet the entire caravan has exited by the time Dwight and Slim and Lee return to Janks Field. The "ghost" walking the highway is never resolved.
And so on and so on.
But most of all, the terrifying "Cadillac Twins" are simply killed by Slim.
One magnificent moment: the bloated monster that consumes body parts in the back of the hearse.
But again, no resolution.
Delicious hints about Lee: she is "heavier" than her slim frame would suggest; she seems to embrace her role as the new vampire. Nothing resolved.
Laymon's writing is fluid and unobstrusive. In this case, his talent delivers nothing but a frustrating, cheating conclusion.