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Into the Fire (2005)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Into the Fire (2005) Author: Richard LaymonAt the start of this book a woman named Pamela is attacked and kidnapped by Rodney, a crazed killer who has had a crush on her since high school. He had killed her new husband when he broke into the house and then set it on fire afterwards, planting the body of another woman he killed, so that everyone will think that the couple perished in the fire. No one will be looking for her.He dresses her in a cheerleader outfit and drives her out into the desert, where he surely wants to have his way with her. When they stop she almost escapes by poking out one of his eyes, but he catches her. Just as we think he's about to kill her he drops over dead, shot. At first she's grateful to the man who saved her life-but when he offers her a ride in his passenger bus filled with mannequins, she starts to think otherwise. He drives her to a town, population six, where he says she'll be safe. The place was a ghost town until the 70's, when a crazy Hippie type resettled it and started practicing his strange ideas. Well, the people she meets welcome her wholeheartedly, yet there's a dark secret they have. If she accepts it she can stay, if not-well, let's just say that what Rodney would have done to her would not be as bad.As with the majority of Laymon novels there is another, seemingly unconnected story going on as well. This involves Norman, a college nerd who picks up a hitcher, much to his regret. This is Duke, a 50's throwback kind of guy who think he's in the same mold as Elvis Presley. Then a mentally disturbed woman joins them, a woman they start sharing. Things start to get wildly out of control when she goes to get them a hotel room by trying to kill its occupant. Then, panicking, Norman kills two cops who he thinks know about their murdering the guy. Norman starts becoming more and more like Duke and the trio go on a killing spree-until they eventually find themselves out in the desert in that sparsely inhabited ghost town with a secret.This recently published book, while far better than last year's release, THE LAKE, is not up to par of THE TRAVELLING VAMPIRE SHOW or any of the BEAST HOUSE novels and I suspect that this, too, was written before those great reads. Still, if you're a Laymon fan you should check this out-it might be the last 'new' novel of his to be published (Laymon died about five years ago).

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