Sunday, June 24, 2018

Endless Night by Richard Laymon

Endless Night by Richard Laymon

1 star

Jody is sleeping over at her best friend Evelyn’s house when Evelyn shakes her awake in the dead of night and claims that a window downstairs has been broken. As Evelyn and Jody brave waking up the parents in the house Evelyn is murdered with a spear. The killer walks off with her body and Jody is able to find a weapon and get Jody’s brother. There’s something strange about the killer in the house. There’s more than one, they smell rotten, don’t appear to be wearing clothes—that is until one sees that they are adorned in human flesh, and seem to be partaking in the eating of Evelyn’s parents. Jody and Andy barely escape. Simon’s gang of ruthless killers have left him behind because no witnesses can be left behind. He failed at capturing Jody and Andy and now he must capture them and make sure they can’t reveal any more secrets. Armed with a tape recorder, a plan for destruction, and a thirst for the inhumane torture of Jody and anyone who stands in his way of getting his hands on her. I read this book for Peter’s Book Club! I love Peter and I trust his recommendations. I’ve read so many books that are favorites that he has recommended, but not every book one picks up from someone’s recommendation will be one you walk away loving. In fact, Endless Night by Richard Laymon may be one of my most hated reads ever. I’ll just be up front, Laymon can create a fast-paced narrative that is easy to fly through, but the content left my stomach in knots. I like dark novels. I read and watch true crime, my favorite author is Stephen King, and I’ve done maybe a little too much research into serial killers. I like the macabre, but this isn’t macabre this is obscene. This is a complete degradation and glorification of rape, torture, and murder. I was expecting that, but Laymon writes in such a way that it feels almost like he wants you to root for Simon and agree with him as he is scalping a woman he just murdered, stuffing her in a freezer, and then putting her hair on his head as a wig. No thanks. I don’t want to sympathize, understand, or root for anyone like that. I like reading about the depraved, but not when it feels like I’m reading a book that could potentially inspire other readers to carry out violent acts. Let’s not forget that the writing is just bad. Grammar errors aside and the constant annoyance of the letter I being written as the number 1, Laymon is not a crafter of a beautiful sentence. His diction choice is subpar and its obvious he uses words for dramatic effect instead of to get one thinking.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 1

Jody, our heroine, and the girl who everyone tells, “You don’t look too bad for a young lady who’s just been shot up,” (real quote folks on page 169) and happens to be the luckiest survivor in the history of survivors. She happens to be well-trained in guns and self-defense, which makes for a thrilling opening sequence with her bashing heads and surviving, but beyond that she is as bland as unbuttered toast. I can’t tell you one thing I liked about her because I didn’t.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 1

Then there’s Andy, the twelve-year-old brother of her best friend. Andy reminds me of that disgusting little psychopath from Apt Pupil: A Novella in Different Seasons by Stephen King (now that’s a fantastic character study on psychopaths done right) who was obsessed with WWII and concentration camps. Andy even reminiscence about pictures he saw of human lampshades even though his family was just brutally murdered by a murder cult clothed in human skin. LIKE WHAT. Then [he watches Jody almost be sexually assaulted and doesn’t immediately shoot Simon on the spot. He watches and allows Simon to manipulate and taunt him because wow a hot naked chick. (hide spoiler)] I just can’t fathom who would actually act this way and I can’t help but wonder if Laymon depicted Andy this way because he was planning to keep him alive and have him become a twisted killer with Simon. Jody’s father and the cop, Sharon, are the only characters in this novel who don’t seem to have a thirst for degrading their fellow human aside from Jody. This book is just a ball of sunshine when it comes to portraying humans loving one another and not wanting to run them over with cars.

Character Scale: 1

The Villain- Why did we need to hear from Simon? This book could’ve been two hundred pages shorter and far less disgusting. I couldn’t stand being inside his head (technically voice recording) and it made my skin crawl. I wasn’t the only one in the book club either with this problem. It was too much. He’s a scary human, but a good villain? Honestly, no. The reason these perverts starting killing and torturing humans is disgusting and also nearly implausible with human psychology. I’m just thankful that I will never be inside his head again.

Villain Scale: 1

Will I read another Richard Laymon? Highly unlikely. He’s just not for me. However, I’m not against it, but I’m not jumping for joy thinking about the prospect of reading another twisted narrative. I think I’m better off sticking with Stephen King, Karin Slaughter, and Gillian Flynn when it comes to character studies of the depraved and sick. I’m going to take a hard pass. However, I’m happy that I read this alongside the people in Peter’s Book Club because I love Peter and he talks about Laymon all the time. It was nice to finally pick up an author he praises often who isn’t more recent. Would I recommend this? Ere on the side of caution. I never will tell someone not to read a book because books change lives, but I don’t think anyone’s life will be changed for the better with picking this one up. Go read Apt Pupil instead.

Plotastic Scale: 1

Cover Thoughts: Spooky creepy horror cover. It has that old school mass market paperback vibe.
Have you read any Richard Laymon? Are you a fan of horror? What is your favorite horror author? Let me know down below in the comments! 

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