Night in the Lonesome October
By Richard Laymon
Night in the Lonesome October was the first Richard Laymon novel that I ever read. I'd read his short story collection, Dreadful Tales, I'd loved it and I'd wanted to read more. So I read Night in the Lonesome October and I just couldn't put it down. After that I was hooked on Laymon's work.
fact, the book made such a big impression on me that I have just read
it again. It was just as good the second time around and I am sure that
it will not be the last time that I read this book.
main character in the book is 20-year-old Ed Logan. Ed is a student at
Willmington University and he has just been dumped by his girlfriend,
Holly. Holly doesn't return to Willmington for the fall semester and
then two weeks later Ed gets a 'Dear Ed' letter informing him that she
has met someone else. Of Course, Ed is devastated by the news and ends
up consoling himself with vodka. Fortunately for Ed the letter comes on
a Friday and he has all weekend to recover from his hangover. On Monday
Ed goes to class as normal and, on the evening, studies until eleven
o'clock, but can't keep his mind on his work and so goes out walking.
And that is where his adventures begin.
While he is
walking Ed bumps into Holly's friend, Eileen, who seems very
sympathetic towards him. When Eileen asks Ed where he is going he tells
her he is going to walk to Dandi Donuts. Eileen is surprised at this
because Dandi's is a seven-mile hike. She offers to walk with him, but
Ed says that he would rather be alone. Understanding this Eileen
doesn't push the matter, but asks Ed to bring her back a couple of
donuts. Ed agrees and sets off walking.
As he walks Ed
sights a girl walking. She is young and attractive and he wonders why
she is out so late and where she is going. On the spur of the moment he
follows her for a while, watching her ponytail bouncing, and growing
more intrigued with every step.
When he loses sight of the
girl, Ed continues to the donut shop. This nocturnal quest for donuts
proves not to be just a one off, and he finds himself walking the
night-time streets on a regular basis, only now he is more interested
in finding the mysterious young girl than he is in donuts. Long before
he finds the girl, though, Ed discovers that the town is a very
different world at night and half the people that he meets are
weirdoes. A lot of them dangerous weirdos.
I think the reason that I like Night in the Lonesome October
so much is that Laymon makes the night-time Willmington seem not just
dangerous, but almost magical, and I can identify with the idea that
the town is a different world at night. I work a lot of nightshifts
myself and most places seem very different on the wrong side of
midnight. Night in the Lonesome October has romance, humour and
intrigue running (or should that be walking) alongside the horror, and
it is incredibly well written and has some the best characters that I
have ever encountered on the written page.
If it was Dreadful Tales that got me interested in Laymon's work, it was Night in the Lonesome October that made me a fan. Four years after first reading it, I am still a fan and will still be a fan in another four years time.
List of Richard Laymon books reviewed on this site ~