I guess I’ll admit it now. Richard Laymon is my horror reading guilty pleasure. I always know what I’m going to get when I pick up one of his books and he never fails to deliver. There will be a few bloody scenes, there will be some sex, there will be lots of breast and nipples and overuse of the word rump. But I also know that it will be an interesting story with no heavy lifting mentally and I’ll have fun reading it. So after reading NARAKA by Alessandro Manzetti (stay tuned for more on that intense book) I knew I needed something light and easy and fun so I picked Laymon’s BODY RIDES at random.
A few chapters into the book and it was clear this was going to be just like all the other Laymon books, so I settled in for a fun ride.
The novel focuses on Neal who comes across a woman, Elise, who is tied up naked to a tree. Neal saves her and shoots her attacker. He takes Elise back to her house and she feels indebted to him. In typical Laymon fashion she practically throws herself at Neal but he restrains himself because he has a girlfriend. Instead Elise repays him by giving him a magic bracelet that, when used properly, allows the wearer to ride along in someone else’s body. The rider can see everything the person can see and know everything the person is thinking but they can not communicate with them. Hence the title BODY RIDES.
Unfortunately Neal does not kill Elise’s attacker and the man goes back to her house after he leaves to finish the job. Neal finds this out using the bracelet but can not get back to her house in time to stop her murder. When he does arrive back at the house she has been brutally murdered. He tracks her blood throughout the house and then realizes he needs to flee because the police might think he was involved in her murder.
The story takes a few Laymon-esque twists and turns from there and as predicted there is plenty of sex and the violence gets ramped up at the end as the story gets more and more ridiculous and less and less believable, but that is part of the fun of Laymon.
For me Laymon is always incredibly consistent. I don’t think I’ll ever read one of his books that I’ll place in the upper echelon of books that I’ve read. But at the same time I’m always entertained by his books and I don’t think I’ll ever read a book of his that I hate or don’t finish. Though the jarring POV switch at the end pulled me out of the story some, it is still a soft 3/5 for me.