Okay, just finished Beware, and I thought it was brilliant. But then that it
is a Richard Laymon, so what did I expect? It has all the usual gore and
blood splattering, all the stuff I like in fact. I think I would have liked
it to be longer, as no sooner I picked it up, I'd finished it!!! A great read
though, and I'm looking forward to the next Laymon book that comes my way.
Rating: 10/10 - Reviewed by Lisa Rudd.
Just finished Beware! a couple hours ago and I thaught it was absolutly great! It was also pretty impressive for one of Dick Laymon's earlier novels.
The general store in Oasis, Arizona has witnessed some wierd things in the passed couple of days. A meat cleaver flies into a wooden door by itself; a gaurd dog locked in the store overnight ends up like fresh sliced hamburger meat and the owner of the store (Elsie H.) is found butchered and wrapped up neatly in cellophane.
One of the people trying to find out who the killer is, is the town's local reporter, Lacey Allen. After being raped and beat up, by the killer, Lacey flees Oasis and heads straight to Tucson not realizing that the killer is hot on her tail, leaving a trail of carnage behind him.
This novel deals with a concept that has been used before: an invisible killer. Such books and movies as H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man, Robert Cormier's Fade and the recent movie Hollow Man, wich seems to have stolen some ideas from Richard, deals with this concept. I like how Richard totally re-constructed the "invisible man" story from the inside-out. Instead
of the phenomenon being a scientific screw-up, Dick makes it a supernatural cult-spell. Scince the invisible killer escaped from the clutch of this cult, they're after him and will stop at nothing to get him back.
I liked how Richard wove the sub-plot of the cult along with the gruesome murders of the killer together. It worked out pretty nicely! I also liked how he developed the charactor of Sammy Hoffman (the invisible killer). Dick makes you despise him, but also makes you like him, in a strange and twisted way. The book has all of Richard's notorious blood splattering, although he uses it more tastefully in this novel. The only fault that I had with this one, and I have to agree with Mike Carter of England, is that some of the action sequences seemed to be a little confusing and at some parts it seemed hard to visualize the scene.
Overall, I loved this book, although I wished It was longer, and would reccomend it to any Laymon fan! Beware! gets 9.5/10!
Reviewed by Mike Laskaris, Boston Mass., U.S.
This is my fourth fix of Laymon, and after reading some of the accomplished later
novels, this oldie did not disappoint. A short book and easy read, this book crams
a lot of action into a small reading space. Beware! is a rollercoaster ride of
sex, gore and a touch of magic that will have any reader hooked from the first
page to the last.
Beware! starts as many Laymon offerings begin, with mundane people carrying out
equally banal lives. The story quickly heats up though with the butchery of the
local supermarket owner, and hotshot reporter Lacey decides to investigate - with
disastrous consequences! The result is the story of an invisible man wrapped up
in the clutch of a cult led by the devilishly menacing Laveda.
One of the credits of the book is the way that the story slowly unfolds so that
by the time you are verging on the final chapters, every gruesome secret is revealed
and the story comes full-circle. Another strength of the novel is the intriguing
mix of characters, not least the touching relationship between Lacey and Scott.
The main criticism of the book from a personal viewpoint is that I would have
liked to know more about the workings of the cult, and particularly the origin
of the witch queen Laveda. The action sequences are somewhat confused at times
also - a minor criticism however on a highly entertaining read.
One of the most hookable Laymon reads thus far, and certainly one of the most
delightful in terms of plotline! 9/10
Reviewed by Jeff Travis, England
Beware! is Richard Laymon`s fifth horror novel, and, only three books on from The Woods Are Dark, his consistently readable style has already matured from slam-bang in-your-face horror to more leisurely yet still speeding prose; in as little as four years his writing has matured greatly, into
more-or-less the style that would hook thousands of readers in the nineties.
At it`s base Beware! has a very strong and quite original concept; that of an invisible killer, a psychotic maniac who enjoys hurting, raping,
killing, but has the added bonus of being constantly invisible. Granted, this is achieved via a pretty ropey occult ceremony, and the guy also seems to have recieved super healing powers so that he`s not easily killed, but the idea is central to the plot and makes for an intriguing read.
This invisible guy is persuing a newspaper reporter, and only some new-found friends help her to stay alive. In turn, the maniac is also being
persued by the widespread supernatural cult who made him that way in the first place, and who he double-crossed.
Thus the plot spins along in pretty fast manner and it turns out to be rather enjoyable. The trademark Laymon staples are again here. There is much rather explicit sex in the book, and within only 20 or so pages there is a large - rather erotic - orgy going on. The violence is here too, and the unseeable killer comes across as completely evil in the extremely harsh things that he does. The few sections that are written in the first-person - as by this guy speaking - help to illustrate this and served as good practice for Laymon`s first-person narratives of the future. So again we see that Richard Laymon pulls no punches. And thus we have a good idea contained inside a pretty fast read with plenty of trademark sex and violence and nicely defined characters [more realistic than those in The Woods Are Dark].
Only a few gripes in that some of the action sequences seem confusingly described and it`s often difficult to visualise the scene. The other thing
is the ending is a bit iffy; it`s logistics are fine but the way it`s told irritated me a bit, instead of heightening tension like I presume was
But in summation I liked this book and it`s the best novel I`ve so far read this year. It would have been excellent but for the iffy ending and the
bad action descriptions. Laymon fans will love Beware!, and for anyone else it`s a great place to discover the undoubtedly entertaining works of this author.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Reviewed by Mike Carter, England