Although I am a huge fan of Richard Laymon, I did not enjoy Body Rides as much as I have enjoyed most of his other work. There is nothing wrong the story; it just wasn’t for me, that’s all. Body Rides is very well written and, as usual, Richard Laymon’s characters are very vivid and believable.
The story begins with Neal Darden, who is making a midnight run to return a rental video. On his way to the Video City though, he hears a scream and decides to investigate. Fortunately, Neal has a gun in his car and he takes that with him.
It doesn’t take Neal long to find out who is screaming, and why. He finds a young woman. She is tied, naked, to a tree and a maniac is busy working on her with a knife and pair of pliers. Neal shoots the madman: three body shots, followed by a head shot.
The girl’s name is Elise and, as Neal has no permit to carry a gun, she helps him to conceal the body of the man he has nicknamed Rasputin. Ever the gentleman, Neal then drives Elise home. Filled with gratitude, Elise gives him a bracelet and tells him that it is magic. Neal, of course, doesn’t believe that it is a magic bracelet, until that is, Elise tells him to kiss the bracelet. He kisses the bracelet and experiences his first body ride. Neal floats out of his own body and into Elise’s, becoming a kind of hitchhiker inside her. He can hear her thoughts and see the world through her eyes. He can even feel the sensation of the clothes against her skin.
Not only has Neal now got a magic bracelet; he has all the ingredients for a romance, between him and the beautiful Elise.
It doesn’t take long though, before he discovers that Rasputin is very much alive and kicking, and out for revenge.
Some of the out of body experiences that are mentioned in Body Rides put me in mind of astral travel, because the traveler does not have to hitch a ride in someone’s body, if he doesn’t want to, but is free to float around and go exploring. Neal does this a few times while he is searching for Rasputin.
As stated, Body Rides, is not a particular favorite of mine, but it is a well spun tale and there are quite a few surprises in store for the reader. The story certainly didn’t follow the path that I thought it would, and when certain characters were killed off, I was more than a little surprised. As for the ending . . . well, I don’t think anyone could see that coming; so if you do decide to read the book, no skipping ahead.