The Lake -- one of several unpublished novels left behind by horror master Richard Laymon (Flesh, Funland, The Traveling Vampire Show, et al.) when he passed away in 2001 -- is an unabashedly erotic and brutally violent thriller that follows the lives of a single woman and her wild-child daughter and chronicles the unspeakable horrors they must face in order to survive a perceived family curse.
When Leigh was a teenager in the '60s, she was an anti-establishment hippy with a talent for getting into trouble. So her parents decide to ship her off to Wisconsin to spend a summer with her aunt and uncle. The fearless -- and oversexed -- Californian quickly hooked up with a naïve local and, during one of their secret trysts, witnessed his accidental death. Leigh became pregnant and now,18 years later, she watches as her daughter, Deana, experiences a horror similar to her own. Deep in the woods with her boyfriend, Deana watches as he is murdered by a stranger. Are these two bizarre deaths related, and if so, how?
Although it is not on a level with Laymon's earlier works and is mired down by an occasionally implausible plot, The Lake is, nonetheless, a fast-paced, absorbing, and downright creepy read that may appeal to fans of psychological thrillers by authors like Dean Koontz and Peter Straub. Paul Goat Allen