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In the Dark

In the Dark

4.3 33
by Richard Laymon, Dean Koontz (Introduction)

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Nothing much happens to Jane Kerry, a young librarian. Then one day Jane finds an envelope containing a fifty-dollar bill and a note instructing her to "Look homeward, angel." Jane pulls a copy of the Thomas Wolfe novel of that title off the shelf and finds a second envelope. This one contains a hundred-dollar bill and another clue. Both are signed, "MOG (Master of


Nothing much happens to Jane Kerry, a young librarian. Then one day Jane finds an envelope containing a fifty-dollar bill and a note instructing her to "Look homeward, angel." Jane pulls a copy of the Thomas Wolfe novel of that title off the shelf and finds a second envelope. This one contains a hundred-dollar bill and another clue. Both are signed, "MOG (Master of Games)." But this is no ordinary game. As it goes on, it requires more and more of Jane's ingenuity, and pushes her into actions that she knows are crazy, immoral or criminal--and it becomes continually more dangerous. More than once, Jane must fight for her life, and she soon learns that MOG won't let her quit this game. She'll have to play to the bitter end.

Product Details

Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.06(h) x 1.44(d)

Read an Excerpt

In the Dark

By Richard Laymon

Dorchester Publishing

Copyright © 2001

Richard Laymon

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8439-4916-3

Chapter One

Jane Kerry noticed the envelope when she stepped behind the
circulation desk. Her first thought was that it didn't belong
on the seat of her chair. She hadn't put it there. Had it
fallen from the top of the desk? She wondered if someone
might've lost it, and whether it contained anything of

She ignored the envelope as she checked out half a dozen
mysteries to old Agnes Dixon. Agnes was one of her regulars, a
retired school teacher, and the first person to make Jane feel
really welcome in her new job as head of the Donnerville
Public Library.

While they chatted in quiet voices, a few more people drifted
over to the circulation desk. Others wandered out the door. As
usual, the library was beginning to empty with the approach of
its nine o'clock closing time.

The envelope.

Jane slipped a dated card into the pocket of Agnes's last
book-a Dick Francis-flipped the cover shut, and set it atop
the woman's stack. Even as she said, "That's one of his best,"
she took a small step backward. Feeling the push of the seat's
edge against her right buttock, she reached down without
looking. She fingered the envelope and picked it up.

"Hi," said a teenaged boy who looked vaguely familiar. "I'd
like to get this, please."

"Sure thing."

He pushed a book toward Jane,cover open, and held out his
library card for her. She took it with her left hand.

She brought her right hand up and glanced at the envelope.

Handwritten in the center, in black, ink was one word:




She felt mildly surprised and perplexed, and a little bit

What could it be?

At least the envelope apparently hadn't been lost by anyone,
so she wouldn't need to worry about trying to catch its owner.

She tossed it back onto the seat, and returned to business.
She tried to focus entirely on the patrons, getting to know
them better, hoping to show them that she was friendly and
always ready to help in any way possible.

The mysterious envelope didn't preoccupy her thoughts.

Instead, it lingered just off to the side where her mind
seemed to glance at it from time to time, and wonder.

An invitation? A greeting card of some kind? A love letter or
poem from a secret admirer?

A complaint?

Maybe a bit of hate mail from someone I shushed.

Could be anything, she told herself. Don't worry about it.
You'll find out as soon as everybody's cleared out.

"If you like that one," she told a pony-tailed girl, "we've
got a lot more by the same author."

As the girl thanked her and headed for the door, Jane swept
her eyes over the remaining people. Quite a bunch. Maybe six
still lined up, a few on their way out, a dozen others
scattered about the main reading room. No telling how many
might be upstairs in the stacks. Nobody in sight seemed to be
paying any special attention to her.

Whoever left it will probably stay behind to see if I open it.

Hope he's cute.

Don't hope for cute, she told herself. Just hope he's not a

By the time Jan was done checking out books, only a handful of
people still lingered in the reading room. She recognized most
of them as regulars. They all seemed busy with their own
projects. Don, her assistant, was making his way among the
tables, gathering up books and periodicals that needed to be
put away.

She checked her wristwatch.

Ten till nine.

She picked up the envelope again. Holding it at waist level so
that the desk would hide it from the view of anyone who might
be watching, she flipped it over.

As she'd thought, nothing on either side except the
handwritten JANE.

The envelope looked clean and unrumpled.

Its flap was sealed.

From the envelope's thinness, she supposed that it contained
nothing more than a sheet or two of folded paper.

She picked at a corner of the flap, tore it upward, thrust her
forefinger into the small hole, and worked her finger along
the seam, ripping upward.

As she tore at the flap, she lifted her gaze. Nobody appeared
to be watching.

Looking down, she removed a folded sheet of paper from the
envelope. Lined, three-hole paper of the sort that students
use for filling their looseleaf binders. It was folded into
thirds. She could see the raised, dark scribbles of the
handwriting on the other side. And a darkness within. A
darkness caused by an extra layer of paper. Paper the size of
a bank check or a dollar bill.

Somebody sent me money?

Suddenly, she felt like an idiot.

This was not a message from a secret admirer. Nor was it a
threat. This was nothing more than payment for a lost book or
an overdue fine.

Jane felt silly. A little relieved. And a little disappointed.

She unfolded the paper.

Inside was not a bank check, but a stiff, unwrinkled
fifty-dollar bill.

Must've been a mighty expensive book, Jane thought.

She moved the bill aside and read the handwritten note:

Dear Jane,

Come and play with me. For further instructions, look
homeward, angel. You'll be glad you did.

Warmest Regards,
(Master of Games)

Jane read it again. And again. Then she looked around. The few
people who remained in the reading room were paying no
attention to her.

"We'll be closing in about five minutes," she announced.

She refolded the note around the fifty-dollar bill and tucked
it back inside the envelope.

"Don, would you come here for a minute?"

The lanky graduate student hurried toward her. He looked
worried. Or guilty? "Is there a problem, Miss Kerry?"

Jane shook her head. "I don't think so." She raised the
envelope. "Did you happen to see anyone put this on my chair?"

He rolled his eyes upward as if an answer might be written on
the ceiling. Then he shook his head. "No. I don't believe so."

"Anyone hanging around the circulation desk when I was away
from it?"

Again, he shook his head. "Not that I noticed."

She shook the envelope. "This isn't from you, is it?"

"Me? No. What is it?"

Jane hesitated. How much should she tell him? She'd known Don
for a couple of months, and she didn't really know much about
him. Only that he'd been a part-time helper at the library for
a year before her own arrival, he was going for a PhD in
English literature at the university across town, that he was
single and lived in an apartment a few blocks from the
library. She also knew that he was agonizingly shy and
apparently had no social life.

Maybe he's trying to start one up with me, she thought, by way
of a mysterious message and a chunk of money.

"It's an anonymous letter," she said, and decided not to
mention the fifty dollars.

His eyes widened. "From a secret admirer?"

"Not exactly."

His jaw dropped. "Not a threat, I hope!"

"No. Just a ... strange sort of message. But you haven't seen
anyone wandering around with an envelope like this, or acting
in any way furtive near the circulation desk?"

"I certainly haven't." He eyed the envelope. "May I?"

"Thanks, but ... I don't think so." Seeing the dejected look on
his face, she added, "It's rather personal."

"Personal?" He suddenly blushed. "Oh. Well. Never mind. If I'd
known it was personal ..." He grimaced and shook his head.
"I'm sorry."

"Don't worry about it, Don. Really."

"I ... may I have your permission to leave? I haven't quite
finished picking up, yet, but ... I'm not feeling especially
well. My stomach." He pressed a hand against it.

"Sure. Go on ahead."

"Oh, thank you." He scurried around the end of the circulation
desk, entered the office, reappeared moments later with his
briefcase, gave Jane a cramped smile and a wave, and hurried
for the library doors.

"Hope you feel better," she said.

Then he was gone.

Jane wondered if she'd had a hand in causing his sudden

Not unlikely. After all, she was his boss and a woman, on top
of which she had almost (but not quite) accused him of
perpetrating the anonymous letter. Plenty to give a person of
Don's temperament a nasty case of upset nerves.

Describing the letter as "personal" had apparently been the
final straw.

Shouldn't have told him that, she decided. The thing isn't
what you'd normally call personal. Didn't ask my income,
didn't get sexy.

It's not personal, it's just plain screwy.

She glanced at her watch. Five after nine. "We're closing up
now," she announced. "Time to hit the streets, folks."

When the last was gone, she locked the front doors and
returned to the circulation desk. She knew that she ought to
go upstairs, make sure nobody was lingering in the stacks, and
turn off the lights. She wasn't eager to do it, though.
Neither she nor Don enjoyed that particular task. Just too
creepy up there when you went alone.

Too quiet. Too many shadows. Too many hiding places.

Just plain spooky.

But made a great deal worse because you knew about old Miss
Favor, the librarian, Jane's predecessor. She'd died up there.
Dropped dead from a bad heart. Dropped dead while she was
alone, closing for the night. And there she'd remained until
morning when a part-timer had opened the library and
discovered her body. According to Don, a rat or two had "been
at her." He knew the unlucky worker who'd stumbled onto Miss
Favor. "Oh, she was totally freaked out. Totally. She hasn't
set foot in this library ever since."

The upstairs stacks weren't so bad in the daytime. They
weren't so bad at night, either, as long as a few people were
up there searching the shelves or working at the study
carrels. But they were usually deserted when you went up at
closing time.

Through some sort of unspoken acknowledgment of their mutual
fears, Jane and Don had fallen into the habit of accompanying
each other on that special job. It helped. A lot.

But tonight, Jane would need to do it alone.

Thanks a heap, Don.

Well, there was no hurry.

Back behind the circulation desk, she picked up the envelope.
She removed the note and the fifty-dollar bill, and studied
them both.

She had rarely seen any denominations higher than twenty
dollars. The fifty seemed a bit alien. On one side was a
portrait of President Grant, on the other a rendition of the
U.S. Capitol. She supposed it was real.

She also supposed that she was meant to keep it. After all,
the thing had come in an envelope with her name on it.

Why would anyone want to give me fifty bucks?
Was it supposed to be a gift? she wondered. Or maybe payment
for some real or imagined services?

Payment in advance?

Cute, she thought. Maybe now he expects something from me.
Figures I've taken the money, so I owe him.

That's what he thinks.

She read the note again:

Dear Jane,

Come and play with me. For further instructions, look
homeward, angel. You'll be glad you did.

Warmest Regards,
(Master of Games)

The "come and play with me" sounded sort of like the eager
request a child might make. Will you come out and play?

Of course, "come" was also a rather vulgar euphemism for an
orgasm. "Play with me" also carried some strong sexual
implications. Maybe this was an invitation-payment enclosed-to
mess around with its sender.

He wants to fuck me.

The idea blasted away Jane's composure. Anger, humiliation,
fear, revulsion, and an unexpected surge of desire seemed to
hit her all at once, stealing her breath, making her heart
race, surging heat through her body.

"The bastard," she muttered. Here's fifty bucks, now come and
play with me.

Maybe that isn't what he means, she thought.

And maybe it is.

She suddenly looked up. She turned her head, scanning the
entire room.

She saw nobody. What she saw were countless hiding places: in
among the rows of bookshelves, down low behind the tables and
chairs, behind any of the several shoulder-high card catalogs,
behind the photocopy machine.

In front of my desk.

She pushed her feet against the rung of her chair and raised
herself off the cushion. Hands pressed against the desk top,
she leaned forward and gazed past the edge.

Nobody there.

She settled down onto her seat again.

I oughta get of here, she thought.

Then she thought, How dangerous can a guy be if he's giving me
fifty bucks?

Also, he must be familiar with literature. The "look homeward,
angel" business was definitely an allusion to the Thomas Wolfe
novel-one of Jane's favorites.

She read that part of the note again. "For further
instructions, look homeward, angel."

Further? He sees this note as the initial instruction. He has
more for me. Maybe the further instructions will be given face
to face.

Maybe not.

Maybe I'm supposed to go home and look in my mailbox for the
further instructions. Look homeward. Maybe I'll find an
envelope with another note inside-and another fifty dollars.

Maybe I'll find it in the book.

Tucked inside a copy of Look Homeward, Angel.

The library's copy, if not checked out or misplaced, should be
on a shelf in the fiction section.

In the upstairs stacks.

I need to go up there anyway, she reminded herself. I'll just
take a quick look at the book.

What if he's waiting for me there?


Excerpted from In the Dark
by Richard Laymon
Copyright © 2001 by Richard Laymon.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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In the Dark 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
SteveDeg More than 1 year ago
Taken from this life too young, Richard Laymon's stories live on. This particular story was a complete joy. How far would you go for money? Jane has taken that question on. Jane Kerry, leading a life of your local librarian, had no idea she was about to find her limits. She will find an envelope with $50 inside with instructions and a clue to the next envelope. As each envelope is found, she realizes her searches are becoming more and more dangerous situations. Richard Laymon leads the reader on into Jane's "adventure" with reckless abandon. Great characters, fast paced, thrill ride, testing Jane's abilities at survival. His plotting leaves the reader guessing from page one. A treat of a raconteur with the ability to take the reader on a magical ride. Highly recomended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now all they have to do is make it available for the NOOK!
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Lindsie More than 1 year ago
Richard Laymon is by far the BEST fiction/horror novelist out there. he takes all of his novels to a whole new level, and you get through them so fast because you always want to know what happens next. 'In the Dark' was intense and unique in its own way. You had no idea who MOG was until the end, even when you thought you knew. This story was unique in a way that it was not just a horror novel about a woman going on a "scavenger hunt" for lots of money, but also because it was completely suspenseful. A little bit different from the normal Laymon reads. I loved it. Horror fans unite and pick up all the novels by this autor that you can. You will not be disappointed!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Richard Laymon. This is the first book I've read of his and I fell in love. I think though you have to be able to handle creepy beyond whatever your definition of creepy is now. I let my friend read In The Dark and she gave it back unfinished. Just be aware that this book is a bit bizarre.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Richard Laymon is one of the greatest horror authors of all time. In fact you may like his books as much or better than those of Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Anne Rice. This novel starts when a college librarian, Jane Kerry, finds an envelope with a fifty dollar bill inside. The envelope also contains a sheet of paper which provides a clue to where the next envelope is. It is signed by MOG, Master Of Games. She soon finds the second envelope which contains a hundred dollar bill, twice the amount of money that the previous envelope contained. Jane recruits a mysterious man named Brace, a library patron, who is all to glad to help her follow the clues to subsequent envelopes and rewards. They find a third envelope which again doubles the monetary reward but there is some risk involved, not much but some. With $350 in her pocket, Jane she feels she is into a good thing, a very good thing. The risk to obtain each subsequent reward doubles along with each monetary amount she finds. Knives, guns, close escapes, human and non-human villains become obstacles to be used or overcome as Jane¿s treasure hunt progresses. She likes the money and the danger. Who is this mysterious Master Of Games? What does he want from her? Why send her to a house full of trapped and chained women starved so badly they are eating the flesh off their own limbs to survive? How can she free these prisoners with the captors just in the next room? What is the ultimate price she will have to pay when she finally discovers who MOG is? The book is aptly named because the reader is kept in the dark as much as Jane is. She has changed, has taken unimagined risks, has become addicted to risks. She will never be a simple college librarian again, after all killers aren¿t ever the same again. Librarians don¿t sleep naked in coffins in deserted, broken down houses or fight with vicious attack dogs. This book was first published by Headline Press in the U.K. but has recently been released by Leisure books and on your local bookstore selves right now. Maybe you will find a fifty dollar bill in it, maybe not. What I can guarantee is that you will become an avid Richard Laymon fan and start you quest to read more of his novels and short stories. If you read this book you will be glad you did. For further Information about Richard Laymon go to his official website Richard Laymon Kills.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You either love Richard Laymon or hate him. There is no in between. He has such a unique style and story telling ability. He is one of a kind. I have read many of his books and he never disappoints. Creepy, haunting, erotic, suspenseful once you start a Laymon book you can't put it down. Even though this book is over 500 pages it like all of his books are a very fast read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Yes, this book is scary. Yes, it is keeps you turning pages so fast you fear they might catch fire! Yes, it is gruesome. However, I do feel the ending is uncharacteristic of Laymon, and it is not very satisfying. This story has a narrative drive unparalleled in horror fiction but lacks the character development to support such a plot. It is an excellent airplane or beach read if you like extreme horror fiction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about a librarian named Jane Kerry who one day finds a note at her desk giving her instructions to 'look homeward angel.' The note also contains a fifty dollar bill. She pulls out a copy of the Thomas Wolfe novel and finds a hundred dollar bill and a note instructing her to 'at midnight, horse around.' Like the first one it's signed, MOG (master of games). Jane along the way (or actually closer to the beginning) meets a guy named Brace who helps her along the way solving clues. As the story moves on MOG forces Jane into actions that are dangerous, extremely creepy, or just force her to do immoral things. One of these things (SPOLIER) is to go into an abandoned house in the back of a cemetery and go up into the master bedroom (won't say no more here). The story started out pretty well, dragged a little but then got very good arounf the 10th chapter or so. The middle part is about 300 pages or so, and I finished it in less than a day, it really was that fast paced! Now what you probably all wanna know is why did I give this book a two star rating. Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but the ending in this book SUCKED!!! I can't say what it is or it'll spoil everything, but let me just say that the thing you've pretty much been dying to know from the first chapter is not answered. It's answered in a very curt, un detailed, extremely unsatisfying way. The question is answered, but as said before the necessary details aren't given which in my opinion subtracts a large amount from the rating of this book. Also something on the side, I know that Dick Laymon is famous for having books full of sex, but this one just has it in many unnecessary places! Brace and Jane seem to whenever they're in a bedroom, on a couch, or just in Jane's house sometimes, seem to have an urge to screw each other! So in conclusion, get this book if you're a dedicated Laymon fan, or just looking for a scare (not necessarily a well thought out story).
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of Laymon. I think this is one of the better books. Not the best but in my top 10. I thought the idea of this so called scavenger hunt was wonderful. How far will a person go for money? Amazing! I would of quit way before her! I thought the house by the cemetary was a little wicked. Yikes! The overall story was good...I have read better by Laymon but it was worth my time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Interesting concept poorly handled. The story almost made sense but about halfway through it bogged down and forced me to slog through to the end-and then there was no end. the story demanded answers that were not given and barely hinted at. Would not read another book by this author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book and I've got to tell you, it really creeped me out! It's my first Laymon book, but it certainly won't be the last. I think I enjoyed it so much because the protagonist could be driven by money so easily...it really makes you wonder if you really know the people around you and what any one of them would actually do in a given situation like that...Oh my gosh! Plus, the women in the house .....! Gave me the shivers! My husband was out last night when I finished it, and I had to check and make sure all the windows and doors were locked, then I shut myself in the upstairs bedroom with the dog, then stayed up til he got home...the only other author to pull my chain like that is Stephen King. Very disturbing! Loved it!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Richard Laymon is my favorite horror author. I had read all of his books except 'To Wake the Dead', 'Island' and 'In the Dark' so i decided to give this one a try. At first the book was okay but it didnt keep my attention. When i got to about the last 100 pages of the book it got my attention so im glad i kept on reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You have never read a horror book untill you have read this one. It is seriously amazing. Took me 3 days to read it and its over 50 chapters long. I couldnt turn the page fast enough because thats how good the suspense really is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed watching our heroine, Jane, develop as a character. She goes through a lot of things; for fun, money, and for justice. It's fun to discover the Master of Games, and his bizarre sense of humor--and the danger he places in these games.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A scary/suspenceful thrill of a ride! This book will have you burning through the pages without you even knowing it. Kept me on edge until the last page. Fans of King and Koontz will love this novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Laymon is GREAT!! This is the first book I read of his, and I am hooked. I could not put it down. I would recommend it to anyone who loves susupense or Richard Laymon books, this is byfar myfavorite!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I couldn't put it down. Laymon is my new favorite author. I'm a book nerd and I admit it. However, with awesome books like those by Laymon, who isn't a book nerd? I was soo sad when I finally finished the book because I really go into it. Laymon is a genius and I recommend it to anyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I haven't been so into a book in such a long time. Richard Laymon is a genious. How he put the plot and all the characters together amazing. Jane- a nice quiet librarian from Donnerville, had a nice house and a good job. At least until some one starts to stalk Jane and leave things for her. It's on this journey through a game that Jane meets the love of her life Brace. Yet in this game of Jane and her stalker Mog, Brace is in the way. Jane finds new things and a new life in the game of life and money or love and death. This book is an easy read, the pages just went by. I can't wait to read another book by Richard Laymon. Be ready tko be reading at the edge of your seat.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. The action starts in the first chapter and doesn't let up. Nearly every chapter leaves you in total suspense, wanting to read another chapter...and then another. I was hooked and finished the book in a couple of hours! Great book. I highly recommend it. There are a couple of parts that are a bit ridiculous, but the book's pace is so fast that it easy to overlook.