By Richard Laymon
Richard Laymon can be a tough writer for readers to crack.Â It’s not because he’s wordy or over-literate, though.Â Many of his books read like ninety minute horror movies: quick, brutal, and full of characters who would cut you rather than shake your hand.Â This has put more than a few people off, and I can see where it might.Â I love Laymon, though, so let me recommend Savage to you.
Savage is the story of Trevor Bently, a young Englishman who happens to be hiding in a hotel room when Jack the Ripper commits his final London murder. Determined to end the madman’s murderous ways, he follows the Ripper, who we come to learn is a man named Whittle through the streets of London.Â When the tables are turned, however, Trevor ends up on a yacht bound for America… as Whittle’s captive.
What follows is equal parts a horror tale, a western, and a coming of age story.Â Trevor makes it his life’s mission to end Whittle’s life, but the people he meets keep turning his mind toward other pursuits.Â After spending time as a sugar baby and an outlaw, Trevor finally grows into a man, and we feel stronger for taking the journey with him.
By far, this is Laymon’s strongest work.Â It’s much longer than his typical tale, and the characters are much richer.Â I can’t remember the last time I’ve grown so attached to a cast.Â If nothing else, Savage should be read for its rich character work.
Recommendation: Must Read!Â Look, people.Â You’re not going to read a better book by Laymon, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better novel, period.Â Leisure books will be publishing an American edition in November, but if you can’t wait (and you shouldn’t) you can find the UK edition on amazon at a fair price.