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The late great (in my opinion) Richard Laymon may have died in 2001 but luckily for us fans he left behind more than 30 novels to be enjoyed. Always more popular in the UK than America he now seems to be gaining the success he deserved in life.
Blood games is my favourite Richard Laymon novel and i have read it every couple of years since i was about 15 (im now 28) It may not be his most famous and for his hard core fans not his best but to me it is synonymous with everything Richard Laymon stands for as a writer. There is horror, twists in the story and a sense of esculating danger but it is also has the best character development of all his books and made me root for the group of women who are the protagonists hoping against hope they would all make it to the end of the book alive....
The plotline of the book is five women who are all friends from college meet up once a year for a holiday together where one of the group picks an activity for them all to do. This year it is the turn of Helen the slightly overweight horror fanatic to choose the location and activity. She decides they are going to spend the weekend in the abandoned totem pole lodge where several years ago there was a serious of grisly unsolved murders on the guests.
Needless to say the other women are not thrilled with this but decide to go along with it for at least one night because they know how much it will mean to Helen. They discover the lodge was built in its location to make use of the natural hot spring under it and when they discover the hot spring they decide to go swimming (obviously being a Richard Laymon book they do this naked) things start going wrong when they realise someone has been down in the hot springs with them. This naturally freaks the women out and as they are rushing to leave they discover their car keys are missing.
They decide they have no option but to spend the night camping in the woods and to look for the car keys the next morning. What comes next is a fight for their very survival where not all of them will make it to the next morning.
During the course of a night we are treated to flashbacks from the girls adventures at college and how they forged such a strong friendship.
As iv said already i love this book. The girls are definitely the best characters in any Richard Laymon book and the inclusion of the flashbacks to their college years really adds depth and fleshes them out making it much easier as the reader to visualise them and also empathise with their characters. The actual characters of the five women are very cliché in their descriptions and if it was not for the flashbacks i really think this would have been to the detriment of the story.
Once the main story kicks in it plays out like a cat and mouse game between the women and the mysterious stalkers and you really find yourself hoping that they all manage to escape even though you know it being a Richard Laymon book that's unlikely to happen.
Again i have a problem with the amount of nudity in this book, it doesn't matter to me if a book has sexual references but the way Richard Laymon writes about the women is just completely unrealistic unless its normal for a group of women in their late 20's to get naked with each other every five minutes and frolic about. The naked scenes and the detail he puts in to describing them are supposed to be erotic but i ended up just rolling my eyes due to the predictability of it and i think it actually takes the reader away from the story.
This is a small gripe however and the book is everything you will want in a horror novel, it has scares, twists in the story and a palatable sense of dread that creeps up on you as the story progresses. There is also a lot of humour to be found in flashbacks and also with the women's interactions with each other. Definitely recommended to all the horror fans out there.
I Love Richard Laymon and this is one of his better novels.
College friends Cora, Finley, Helen, Vivien and Abilene have made a pact on their last night at college.
The friends decide they will meet up once a year for a week and will go on an adventure of one of the girls choice, no men or children will be allowed.
The book tells us the history of the girls relationship through college and also tells us the past two years adventures.
Full of sexual references as is usual with Laymon we are taken to the Totum pole lodge the disused and rundown hotel that has been the scene of a gruesome mass murder, this is where the girls will stay the night.
Helen is obsessed with all that is creepy and has researched the history of the hotel.
The girls soon discover they are not alone at the hotel and this can only mean murder and mayhem ensue.
Great story telling with some convincing story lines, as someone who has never visited America the story does make you think the place is full of insane serial killers so will not be booking a trip any time soon.
I thought Laymon helped us to relate more to the characters in the novel by using the flashbacks.
There is an unhappy ending so not a novel for the Snow White brigade.
One of Laymons better novels.
If you've ever read any of Richard Laymon, you will know he could be quite graphic and violent in his writing style. Blood Games isn't one of his tamest, but at the same time you will be able to read this on your own at night.
The novel is set around five friends, Helen, Cora, Vivian, Finley and Abilene. Set in America as all Laymon's novels are, these friends always meet up once a year to spend a week together in search of adventure. Each year they take it in turns to choose the place to stay. This year it's Helen's turn and she has chosen a deserted hotel in a very desolate area.
Totem Pole Lodge was once a fancy hotel, but has been empty for years. Helen found out about it on the internet and decided this would be the place to take her friends.
We learn very quickly that all the characters are different. They all have very different qualities that they bring to the story and we learn quite a bit about them throughout.
Of course the hotel isn't going to be as deserted as they expected it to be. In true Laymon style they are stranded in the middle of nowhere almost as soon as they arrive. What they choose to do next could determine whether they live or die.
This book is a slow starter in terms of the hotel, but the first chapters tells us a lot of background about the characters and shows their strengths and weaknesses that will become important later in the book.
Each character it seems will have their own demon and they will all surface one way or another throughout the plot.
The whole book is told over one day and night and Laymon manages to draw the reader in completely to find out what will happen.
How will five friends who have grown up and apart in some ways pull together and fight the demons within them as well as the demons surrounding them during their time at Totem Pole Lodge?
I found the writing style to be intriguing and clear. Laymon's violent twists made me cringe every now and again, and he is very graphic when writing about the human anatomy. I probably learned more than I needed to in certain paragraphs and felt that it was maybe there to draw out the book slightly. However it wouldn't be Laymon if it didn't feature some gore and violence.
As a reader you will feel like you are being pulled into the book and you will feel yourself wanting to do something to help the characters or warn them what is coming. I couldn't determine the whole plot and found myself getting carried away with the twists and turns that Laymon does so well in certain books.
The ending isn't as good as it could have been, but it was a suitable ending for all the drama that had been the whole book.
Recommended if you like Richard Laymon.
College friends Helen, Cora, Vivian, Finley and Abilene all meet up for one week every year. Helen has a taste for horror, and this year she has chosen the Totem Pole Lodge, a deserted hotel in the backwoods with a sinister past. But the girls soon find it is not as deserted as they thought.