Book Review: “All Hallow’s Eve” by Richard Laymon

Richard Laymon is an author whom I’ve read several of his works with a mixture of eagerness and disappointment. He was a person whose talent was increasingly undermined by ALWAYS subjecting his characters to random bursts of sexual humiliation for no fucking reason at all. In The Beast House series, it’s a bit forgivable due to the plot. His masterwork, The Traveling Vampire Show contains scenes of this that, while a bit out of place, do fit the narrative. In All Hallow’s Eve, it’s as though Laymon is playing a trick, not a treat, on his readers just to see how much of his shit they are willing to put up with.

The story concerns some shitty town whose name I can’t remember and don’t even care to look up, where someone was murdered by a psycho. Now, people are getting invites to come to some Halloween party. Sounds like a cool set up, right? A killer knocking off people at a party. I mean, yeah, a bit trite, but offers up the possibility of a lot of fun to be had.

But no, the “party” doesn’t happen until the end, and by that point it seems Laymon himself has grown tired of the joke and just throws a one paragraph epilogue to finish up the book. This is fine because by that point so has the reader.

Before we get to all that we have to spend time with characters so thin that their personalities barely even exist. We have a cop named Sam who is in love with some MILF he has been sleeping with for a while unbeknownst to her bastard son Eric, who is the product of….of course…a rape. He doesn’t know that though and verbally berates his mother for not giving him the opportunity to know his father, whom she tells him ran off.

Meanwhile, Sam is investigating the murder of the sheriff which leads him to investigate a couple of sluts and a fat bi-sexual pedophile in a plot that promises to reveal things about the relationship between the after mentioned characters but never does. The whole thing is just absolutely useless to the plot except to help fill a hundred pages with bullshit.

Then we have the random acts of sexual assaults. Eric’s love interest, Beth, bumps into one of the bullies who then dry humps her. The principal blames Beth for this, tells her the bully is her boyfriend and asks her repeatedly which parts of her body the bully touched before telling her that the bully stuck his hand down her panties. Beth says to him that didn’t happen (it didn’t), and the principal says “Maybe you didn’t notice it” and then sends her own her merry, leaving Beth feeling just as confused as the reader as to what the hell just happened.

Oh and before that, the bully accidentally knocks an attractive young teacher on her ass and Laymon describes the bully’s friend having a lingering glimpse at her pink see-through panties. Then they plan to rape her, but are dissuaded from the idea by the old man librarian who beats them up. The bullies then show up at a party the librarian is at and beat him up. The party-goers subdue them and decide to strip them of their clothes and make fun of their penis size. None of this shit serves the plot and Laymon’s novels are all plagued with this non-sense, but it’s never been this random. It’s like he is trying to be Marquis De Sade meets John Carpenter in his perverted slasher-rapist fantasy novels. I could never read another Laymon novel in my life and I wouldn’t feel as though I’ve missed anything.

If you have never read a Laymon novel before, don’t let this review dissuade you from doing so. Night in the Lonesome October or The Traveling Vampire Show especially are really solid books despite having skeevey moments. They are well-written though, unlike All Hallow’s Eve which only serves the purpose of giving even the worst writer in the world hope that even they can get published.

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3 Comments

  1. Wow, that was a down to the nitty gritty, brutally honest review. As shitty as this book sounds, somehow, I’m still a bit curious to read it. I read THE TRAVELLING VAMPIRE SHOW, and was a bit let down on it, due mostly to high expectations heading in, I guess. Not that it was bad by any means, but just didnt do it for me. I still plan on reading through some more of Laymon’s books, though. Great review, man.

  2. You gotta read Night in the Lonesome October and The Beast House series!

    If you are a glutton for punishment I’ll give you this book for Christmas or something.

    • You know me, man. I love PUNISHMENT.


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