Being a writer, I'm often asked the question, "who's your favorite author?" Most of the time, that can't be narrowed down to just one person. For me, that list could go on and on until I've named 80% of the authors I've read. So I decided that I would provide a look at one particular author who holds a place of honor in my abode.
As you pass through the threshold of my little corner of the asylum, to your left sits a tall, cluttered, shelf with a little of this and a whole lot of that (including a little, stuffed Creature From The Black Lagoon who guards the goodies). Mostly, what resides in the shelf are my books, the conquered worlds of so many talents that have helped shape my own stories in some way. The largest contributor in my library, scribe to so many worn, dog-eared, paperbacks, is the late Richard Laymon.
I first heard the name after reading Castaways by Brian Keene. Keene's book had been a tribute to Richard, serving as a sort of spin-off to Laymon's Beast House series. After reading what Keene had to say about the life and work of this man, I had to seek out at least one of his books to see what he was like.
Several months later, I found myself sifting through a used book store in Flat Rock, North Carolina and happened to catch the name "Laymon" emblazoned in gold along the spine of a well thumbed book. What I had found was the novel COME OUT TONIGHT. I devoured the book with an intensity that I had never experienced, finishing it in just a few hours. From that moment on, I was hooked on the literary equivalent of crack, doing whatever I could to find more works from the macabre genius and feed my newfound addiction.
That was probably four or five years ago. Since then, I've found some of the greatest, most thrilling, disturbing, fucked up and fantastic novels I've had the pleasure of reading. The Beast House series, The Traveling Vampire Show, One Rainy Night and The Woods Are Dark are just a few personal favorites.
I still haven't read all of his works. Some are out of print and require a little further snooping, but for me as a reader, that's part of the fun. It becomes a treasure hunt, in many ways and leads to a satisfying end.
In recent years, Richard Laymon has grown in popularity and has gained a whole new generation of ravenous fans, including me. Sadly, he's no longer here to be able to enjoy the newfound success and praise. However, he lives on through the written word and we, as fans, colleagues etc., owe him a great deal of thanks for all the amazing stories that he left behind so we could get our fix as book junkies.
P.s. as of this writing, I'm in the middle of reading After Midnight and loving it!