Beware! by Richard Laymon

Where exactly should I start with this one? Maybe with the invisible man running amuck in a small town? No. How about the crazy bizzarro cult that has infiltrated every facet of the normal world? I guess that might not be the appropriate launching point either. Well we always have the abused heroine who is willing to forego revenge on a man that repeatedly assaulted her in order to give some two-bit author a good story. No, not that either. I guess I’ll just start at the very beginning.

I had no idea what Beware was about when I opened the book. I was immediately hooked when it started to play out like a violent ghost story. There were unthinkable murders and assaults committed by an unseen assailant- all of which were masterfully told through a series of newspaper clippings. I was in heaven! This was shaping up to be one fine novel. Then everything got kinda……. well,weird. Yeah, I guess weird would be the word for it. It wasn’t necessarily bad but it certainly wasn’t what I had hoped for. Things just spiraled out of control in a completely unexpected way. The ghost turns out to be an invisible man who kidnaps a woman he has been lusting after for years. He intends to keep her as a prisoner in her own house. Of course she escapes and we are led on an insane adventure that leads to Las Vegas and the surrounding dessert where she is assisted by a novelist and some sort of super-human strong man private detective. All of this happens while a blood thirsty cult is closing in on the invisible man. Things got so out-of-control that I was fully expecting a UFO to swoop down and bring the story to an end.

Now I realize that I sounds like I didn’t care for Beware but that isn’t the case. Laymon had ample amounts violence and action which held my attention throughout. His writing was so tight and fluid that I had to keep reading. The problem was that I found myself being entranced by the writing and not the story. This makes for a very difficult read.

I voiced some of these concerns to the almighty Colum  and he wished that someone had warned me about Beware before diving in. Apparently it is known amongst Laymon fans that Beware is his completely insane over-the-top story that doesn’t jive with his normal style. I think with that in mind I may go back and give it a second chance. Until then I will continue to slowly shake my head every time I think of Beware.