Book Review: Alarums by Richard Laymon

Book Review: Alarums by Richard Laymon

Alarums is a horror novel written by Richard Laymon. He’s one of my favourite authors so Alarums is not the only Richard Laymon book review you can read on this site. He’s written a lot of good stuff. After you’ve read this review I suggest you check out some of his other titles including Funland, The Travelling Vampire Show, and Night in the Lonesome October.

The central character in Alarums is a violinist named Melanie. The book begins with her collapsing in the middle of a concert performance. She appears to be taking a fit, but that’s not the case.

Melanie’s boyfriend, Bodie, who was in the audience, rushes to check she is okay and soon discovers what really happened. Melanie tells him she’s had a premonition and fears something may have happened to her father or sister.

Given the circumstances, Melanie does what most people would do—she tries to ring her father. When he doesn’t answer his phone, she and Brodie begin a long journey across the state to visit him.

As the story unfolds, it becomes clear Melanie has certain issues with her family. She feels intimidated by her sister’s beauty, doesn’t like her step-mother, and finds it hard to forgive her father for marrying again. It also turns out her premonition seems to have been right.

Alarums is not a long book so it did not take me long to read it and begin this review. I bought a hardback copy. It only ran to 309 pages. I read the first 25 pages and then set the book aside for the night. The following day, I read the rest. I hadn’t planned to do so but I got so hooked by the story I couldn’t put the book down until I knew how it all turned out.

As is often the case with Richard Laymon books, once I picked it up, there was always something happening that I needed to know the answer to. I kept coming up with lots of ideas about what was going on and I needed to find out if I was right.

When I got to the end of the book I discovered I’d got a lot wrong. Laymon had done a very good job of pulling the wool over my eyes.

This book review is kinda short and sweet, but there’s not a lot more about Alarums I can say. It’s a good book and it has some great characters—even if some of them aren’t as they first appear to be. If you like Richard Laymon, you’re probably going to love this book. If you’ve never read any of his work before, Alarums is a good place to start.




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