"Hell, you can't live without making decisions and every time you make one you start a chain-reaction. You affect lives. In ways you never imagined. Or wanted." - Ian, page 298 of CUTS.
And boy, is Ian right!
Cuts is an extraordinary novel by Richard Laymon. Usually, Laymon novels center around only one or two, or a few, main characters and all other characters are secondary. In CUTS, we have at least nine main charcters, each of whom is integral to the plot.
We see them going about their everyday lives in seperate plots - even in separate towns and cities. And, in some instances, the characters are unaware of the other characters around them. But soon, all the plotlines begin to dove-tail towards each other and aim straight for the unstoppable conclusion.
The main characters are certainly vintage Laymon, with their quirkiness and very human problems.
Albert is our resident psycho who likes to cut up women and, if he can't get them, he'll kill men and animals. In fact, he'll cut up just about anyone or anything. He's on the run across the USA and he's not about to stop enjoying himself. The more girls he can capture, cut and kill, the better.
Janet is pregnant and has just been dumped by her boyfriend, the evil Dave. When she tells him that she is pregnant, he orders her to have an abortion. She refuses and walks out on him. She doesn't want to see him ever again. But it's not that easy! She goes and stays with her friend Meg who will sleep with just about anyone - even Janet's enemies!
Lester and Helen are unhappily married. Lester is a college librarian who is seen by many as a loser, and Helen makes a habit of sleeping with her students which earns her title of "The Ice Queen." While Helen's screwing around with students, Lester has to find someone who will love him for who he is.
Ian - also known as author Evan Collier - is a teacher as well, but makes most of his money by being a famous writer. Soon events will overtake him and push him into Janet's life. For better and for worse.
Emily Jean Bonner is the "aging and pathetic Georgia bell of Grand Beach High" and is also searching for someone in her life. Her daughter, the stunning May Beth Bonner, is a budding actress who, thanks to Ian, is about to get her big break in films. A break that will lead her right into the hands of Albert.
There's twists aplenty in CUTS. The interweaving plots and the way the characters cross each others paths are handled with great skill and it all makes terrific reading. Only Laymon could pull something like this off!
This is a shocking, violent and darly humorous novel that you won't be able to put down.
Rating: 10 out of 10!
Reviewed by Steve Gerlach