The Woods Are Dark (1981) by Richard Laymon

It’s that time of year again, the time for some Halloween Reads. Who can resist a dose or two of HORROR?

In the woods are six dead trees. The Killing Trees. That’s where they take them. Innocent travellers on the road in California. Seized and bound, stripped of their valuables and shackled to the Trees. To wait. In the woods. In the dark…

Publisher’s Synopsis

**Make sure you read the Restored & Uncut version**

There is a fascinating story behind this book. It was originally published in 1981 but the publishing company heavily and clumsily edited it. Author Richard Laymon agreed to the cuts because he was young, it was only his second novel, and he just wanted it to be released. However, when he read the edited version he was shocked to discover just how much had been cut and also rewritten by the editor. He believed his story had been ruined and now came across as fragmented and unsatisfying.

The good news is that Laymon’s original version of The Woods Are Dark was finally published in July 2008 after being reconstructed from the original manuscript by his daughter, Kelly. In a short introduction, she writes briefly about the process of piecing the original work back together. Sadly, Laymon was no longer alive to see his restored novel. He died of a heart attack in 2001.

My Thoughts

The Woods Are Dark pulls absolutely no punches. This is my first time to read Richard Laymon and it won’t be my last. He has a fairly simple style that is very very readable. It took me back to my teenage days of reading the early books of James Herbert, Shaun Hutson and Ray Garton. Laymon’s second novel is Grindhouse horror that is not recommended for the easily offended. This book is violent, gory, sexy, shocking, funny, creepy, exploitative, and at times downright bizarre. I loved it and raced through it in a day.

After finishing this book, I went online and bought a copy of his first novel The Cellar (1980). I’m looking forward to reading it and will let you know how it goes.

Thanks for reading!

-Wakizashi, *recovering from Sunday’s peanut harvesting.*


4 thoughts on “The Woods Are Dark (1981) by Richard Laymon

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