Richard Laymon's 'In The Dark': A Review
In The Dark
Are you a fan of the 'Saw' series? With 'In The Dark' Laymon crafts down right nasty puzzles and games that would make Jigsaw think to himself "Damn! I wish I'd thought of that!" Maybe the creators were Laymon fans as 'In The Dark' could fit perfectly as an early entry into the series. Again, we see Laymon's dramatic characters and warped sense of humor at it's best.
Jane is enjoying the stability of her life as a librarian. Her daily routine suits her perfectly until it's significantly altered when she discovers a mysterious note with her name on it. Inside the note is a crisp fifty dollar bill, a set of instructions and the promise of greater rewards to come. Enigmatically signed MOG (Master of Games), the note starts her in a twisted game that will test everything she knows about her own morality and mortality. Exploring the darker areas of the library, she discovers another set of instructions and a doubled cash reward. During her search, she stumbles upon Brace, a local college professor who helps keep Jane grounded as she plays. Her quest leads her through abandoned houses, cemeteries, evil churches and even a cult mansion. With each level of the game, she is forced to make life changing decisions. How far is too far for the next pay out? Do I kill or run? Am I crazy? To meet the requirements, she has to think quick on her feet to disarm traps and escape enemies. As she learns about how far she can push her limits, she misses the answer to the most important question. Who the hell is MOG??
As I read through the story, I really questioned myself and what I would do in those circumstances. How far could I really go? What limits could I surpass? The same questions that Jane had to ask herself at some point. Could I kill for money? Could I be a savior? Could I choose who lived and who died? My quick response is no, but that was Jane's at first also.
Overall this is a very gory, disturbing novel. Would your morals allow you to kill another human that's committing horrible atrocities under the radar? How invincible do you think you are? Do you put your survival above that of another creature if there is no way out? These choices I grappled with and I think that you will too. Suspenseful and exciting, I polished the title off in under four days. I had to rip myself away, and even thought about the story in between sittings. The five stars I'll award the novel will certainly chase the dark away.
I think this is one of his better novels, although many would disagree with me. You can find a really good deal here so don't be afraid to pick it up and draw you're own conclusions.