Other Sellers on Amazon
Follow the Author
In the Dark Paperback – November 10, 1994
Enhance your purchase
'If you've missed Laymon, you've missed a treat' Stephen King
Nothing much happens in Donnerville. Then librarian Jane Kerry receives an envelope containing a fifty-dollar bill and a note from 'MOG' (Master of Games) instructing her to 'Look homeward, angel'. Jane pulls Thomas Wolfe's novel of that title off the shelf and finds a second envelope with more money and another clue...
This 'game' soon pushes Jane into crazy and immoral actions, but when she ties to quit, 'MOG' has other ideas.
New: Sarah Selects
Sarah Selects is a book club hosted by Amazon Editorial Director Sarah Gelman. Whenever Sarah finds a book that sticks with her, she loves to recommend it to her friends and family. These books are the books she's sharing, so members can talk about them after they’re done reading. Join the club to view and reply to posts from Sarah and get email updates when the February book is chosen. Join the club.
- Publisher : Headline (November 10, 1994)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 512 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0747245096
- ISBN-13 : 978-0747245094
- Item Weight : 9.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.57 x 6.97 x 1.38 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,852,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #99,329 in Horror Literature & Fiction
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on September 27, 2021
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Does everyone have a price? And when will Jane say enough is enough?
In The Dark begins with protagonist Jane Kerry working at a library and finding an envelope addressed to her. Within is a fifty dollar bill and a riddle presented to her by Mog - or more properly, MOG, the Master of Games. She solves the puzzle easily enough, leading her to another note, this time with one hundred dollars. This time, Mog leads her elsewhere.
Accompanied by Brace Paxton, a young professor who she meets by accident (and soon will be romantically involved with), she gets to another note and $200. The game is afoot, and as long as Jane plays, the money keeps doubling. Mog, however, discourages Brace's participation and soon Jane is forced between getting more money by doing more and more bizarre things or dropping the game that the protective Brace feels is getting out of hand. For Jane, who is now getting significant sums of money, it is not easy to quit.
Although this book is definitely a thriller, it is uncertain for a while if Mog is some villainous character out to corrupt Jane, or merely an eccentric rich guy. Eventually, his true colors show and he is shown to be a nasty person, one who is so clever he has an almost supernatural quality.
For Laymon, this is one of his better books, principally because of its plot. Also, Laymon's semi-misogynistic qualities - women are particularly abused in his books - and his rather adolescently voyeuristic view of sex are toned down in this novel, though definitely not absent. And the ending leaves a bit to be desired as Mog undergoes a change of character (which is not to say he suddenly finds God, but rather acts in a manner that he hadn't previously). Even with these flaws, however, Laymon does write a good page-turner. If you have never read Laymon, this is probably a good book to start with.
So, In the Dark had many of the elements that I’ve come to expect and enjoy from our scribe:
1. A Psychotic and almost omniscient man not-yet-revealed who torments his pray from a distance
2. A heroine who goes along with the torment and (in this novel) actually goes through tremendous change
3. A doofus boyfriend (who isn’t too much of a doofus in this book)
4. And most importantly, completely random, strange encounters with weirdos, freaks and crazies (see Swimp and Rale, and the jogger) that don’t add to the plot but do help contribute to the bizarre atmosphere of his books.
All of that and I will say, as far as a tight plot goes, In the Dark may very well be one of Laymon’s best. So many of his novels meander aimlessly (which I personally don’t mind) but a few of them such as One Rainy Night, The Traveling Vampire Show, Flesh, The Beast House and this novel actually hit their beats and move the story forward at a brisk pace. I highly recommend this book for the fans and those who may be new to Laymon.
The story follows the story of Jane, a new librarian in the sleepy town of Donnerville, a place where nothing happens. One day while working, Jane finds an envelope on her desk containing $50 and a note that reads "Look Homeward, Angel". Directing Jane to a Thomas Wolfe novel of that name, she opens the book to find another envelope containing a $100 bill. You can guess where this is going. The note is signed by a person only known as "The Master of Games". Each time that Jane plays, the stakes get higher, and the games more and more dangerous. A true rollercoaster of suspense and mystery await each game, as we contemplate what the next game MOG wants to play is.
Laymon delivers the goods in full force here, likeable characters, great set-up and execution, and of course MOG is a complete madperson, with his own certain charm, wit, and black humor. I loved this book dearly and enjoyed playing the games as well, and i feel that you will love it too. For those of you that like your bad guys with a lot of brains and intellect, this one is for you, and as for Laymon fans, this is a must-have for the collection.
Top reviews from other countries
But having read some reviews by people who chose this as their first excursion into the world of Richard Laymon, I would offer some advice to those readers: If you plan to read more Laymon by shimmying perhaps on to books like The Beast House series or One Rainy Night or Funland, be warned – you’re in for a bit of a shock. Most other Laymon stories are loaded with much more graphic, perverted and warped happenings. It’s his style and his trademark.
‘In The Dark’ isn’t like that. In fact, it feels like Laymon was almost having a poke at his own self-created genre. The main character (Jane) definitely goes through some bizarre and mind altering experiences throughout her cash-fuelled treasure hunt, but unlike usual Laymon tales where the story is based on normal people getting plunged into something absolutely horrid where all but one main character end up being butchered or slain in great graphic detail, Jane tends to dip her toes into several nasty scenarios that would normally be the main focus of the story, but quickly gets herself out of it (even heroically rescuing some of the unlucky characters from dire situations – characters that would usually have a story all to themselves in any of his other books).
Although a great page-turner if you’ve never read Laymon before, I think it works much better if you’re already a fan. The tension build up is excellent with each chapter, both in book and in Jane’s adventure and I found myself thinking, “Uh oh, this is gonna get real nasty real soon.” in anticipation of his usual twisted occurrences. Some of the gruesome scenes are noticeably less extensive and less graphic, but not in a way that ruins the story. There’s even a clever and brief reference to his own Beast House books, which would of course fly right over anyone’s head who hadn’t read these books, which I’ve never known him do before (but I haven’t read all of his books by any swipe of a bloody cleaver).
Sure, you could argue that the ending didn’t need to resort to such a freaky throwback to his numerous other tales, but all in all the book grabs you by the blood clots from the off and just like life, it’s all about the journey not the destination, right?
The plot was good, and the writing too improved as the story progressed. Yes, I know it was fiction and horror, but sometimes it was so unrealistic it was annoying - cringing, even.
Having said that, by about halfway through, the pace, the ideas and the writing were far better and the idea behind the 'baddie' was very well done.
The build up of the 'horror' was extremely well done, and some scenes were so weird and crazy that, psychologically, it was far better - shudder.
Overall, a very good read - the first by this author - and I'll probably read others eventually.
Gripping stuff that I really enjoyed - until the ending. We had a suspense
page turner that was shocking at times. But - as Richard Laymon was prone
to do -the story is spoiled by the rushed ending. Another problem was Richard's need to add paranormal elements when none were needed.
Librarian Jane receives a note signed by MOG (Master of Games) and a $50
bill. Following the clue in the note leads her to another clue; and
Jane becomes caught up in the adrenalin rush, and the always
doubled cash reward. When the clues lead her to dangerous places, I did
lose connection with her. Most people would stop the `game' way before she
When she does try to quit MOG takes exception. I won't go into anymore detail and spoil the story, but let's just say MOG makes sure Jane has an incentive to keep playing.
Now the hard part; the rating. For the most part `In The Dark' is a gripping, can't-put-it-down read. Who is Mog and what are his/her motives? Readers will have fun trying to find the guilty party from the characters.
But the ending... I was so disappointed; I have to take away a star.