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DEEP IN THE DARKNESS by MICHAEL LAIMO: BOOK REVIEW
writing as Ivan S. Graves
Back in October 1997, while serving as the editor of the first ever magazine formatted, monthly online horror fiction magazine FrightNet, which I also created, I had a great manuscript by a fairly new author come across my desk. The story was "11:11," and the writer was Michael Laimo. It was a haunting, chilling tale about what a baby might do to survive. After I read it, there was no denying that Laimo had a talent for putting on the chill factor. During the time that FrightNet was published, which spanned a little over three years, two more Michael Laimo stories appeared between its virtual covers, "Final Exam" and "Big Bertha." Later on, his short story, "The Layover," which first appeared in Rictus, and which has been reprinted several times since, also appeared in the short fiction horror anthology I edited in 1998, "Dark Whispers."
Published in 2004 by Leisure Books, an imprint of Dorchester Publishing, "Deep in the Darkness" is a haunting read well worth picking up. Michael Laimo's got a knack for putting on the fright that I think you'll like. In the book, he layers on the suspense, artfully building on the horrors that are to come, and before you know it you'd swear the pages were turning themselves.
In the storyline, Laimo introduces us to Dr. Michael Cayle who was never one for the burbs. He'd always imagined it as a slow life. A place where there were likely "more cows than people and your closest neighbor lived a half a mile away with nothing but trees in between." He'd grown up in the big city. He'd known it all his life. And after all, he was a successful doctor in Manhattan.
But as all things in life eventually do, things change. One marries. One has kids. And especially the latter changes everything about how one views the world. One's existence becomes more defined. More purposed. For Michael, that purpose was his daughter Jessica. After all, schools in the big city were the pits by his estimation.
And then there was the opportunity of a lifetime that sort of came out of nowhere. In Michael's own words, it practically just fell into his lap.
In the small, New Hampshire town of Ashborough there was a physician with a private practice there. He was the town's only doctor and now he was dead, the victim of a dog attack. The house could be his. The practice could be his. The timing couldn't have been better, however tragic for the old doctor. The town of Ashborough needed a new town physician, and Michael needed a new place to raise his family. Besides everything else, it was a beautiful house, the schools were highly rated, and it was still close enough to familiar territory. And the town? It was small. Tranquil. And the price was unbelievable as well. It was nearly a steal.
But perhaps it would all soon become all too clear that sometimes things aren't exactly what you may bargain for. Perhaps small towns have dangers too. Not knife-wielding street thugs or drug peddlers on every corner. Other dangers.
When Michael meets his new neighbor, Phil Deighton, he learns all too well that the quaint town of Ashborough is not what it seems at all. There's a darkness there. The doctor soon learns about strange legends. He questions his own sanity, and wonders if what he hears about the town could possibly be true. Eventually he finds himself confronted with a truth he could never have imagined to be possible, and now his own life and the lives of his family must be saved.
"Deep in the Darkness" is certainly a book I enjoyed reading.
Ivan S. Graves is the former editor of the first monthly online horror fiction magazine, "FrightNet," and also editor of the horror anthology "Dark Whispers," which was published in 1998. He currently resides in Milwaukee, WI.