Richard Laymon,
(Leisure, 1999)

This novel is somewhat unusual in that it really has the feel of a short story. There is not a great deal of depth here. This is the first Richard Laymon book I have read, so I don't know whether or not the writing in this book is typical of Laymon's other works. In a way, this lack of depth works in Bite; this kind of tale would seem to require a brisk, off-the-cuff pace to it -- otherwise, the reader would have too much time to question the things going on here.

Basically, the protagonist drops everything and quickly agrees to help an old flame murder a "vampire" (while this vampire is indulging in carnal pleasures with this man's "true love") and then agrees to haul the body out to the desert for some forgettable reason. Along the way, the couple ends up meeting three of the most unusual, unlikeable (and not in a good way) characters in the world, fighting with, for and against them in turn, all the while facing ridiculous situations that could easily have been avoided. Of course, they still find time to pause from their bloody, exhausting efforts in order to "enjoy each other's company."

I ended up hoping everyone in this book would die. As I try to describe this book now, it really does sound like a stupid, hackneyed premise. Action alone keeps this story going; when all is said and done, there is no real story here -- just action. The reader is not going to learn any universal truths in this book (and this is not the author's intention, anyway), but Laymon does manage to keep your interest throughout by never letting the pace of the story slow down. This is a good read for people seeking entertainment; those who would approach this book with a more serious mindset will be disappointed.

by Daniel Jolley
10 December 2005

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