Night in the Lonesome October is the first book published since the death of author Richard Laymon, and it is ironic that this is among his richest and most atmospheric pieces. |
Laymon's hero Ed Logan is brimming with anticipation for his second year at Willmington University. He's been missing Holly, whom he fell in love with the previous year. But when Ed returns to campus, Holly doesn't. He receives a letter that destroys his hopes; she has fallen in love with another man and won't be coming back. Virtually destroyed by the news, Ed struggles to study and even to sleep. Leaving his apartment one night for a walk, he finds that he has moved into what might almost be a different world. There are others out on the streets; are they human, these figures who hide in the shadows? Certainly, the prey they seek is marked for a grisly end. Needless to say, Ed becomes involved with these sinister figures, particularly a mystery girl who will change his life.
The fashion in which Laymon insinuates these otherworldly elements into the otherwise normal world of his hero is brilliantly done, with Ed's distraught emotional state seeming to act as a catalyst. In all the best horror tales, the hero is not just menaced by nameless evil, but becomes inextricably involved with it. That is certainly the case here, and the attention paid to his central character is just as rewarding as the horror set pieces:
I swept the beam a small distance to the left. Near the far end of its reach, it dimly illuminated a low, squatting circle of men. Hairy, filthy, bloody. All of them looking at us. Chewing. Blood spilling from their mouths....
Source: Barry Forshaw, Amazon.co.uk.