To Wake the Dead

To Wake the Dead

4.7 7
by Richard Laymon

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Nothing can satisfy the bloodlust of an ancient mummy when it awakens and leaves its coffin. And no one can stop it. You cannot stop what is already dead.


Nothing can satisfy the bloodlust of an ancient mummy when it awakens and leaves its coffin. And no one can stop it. You cannot stop what is already dead.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Published last year in the U.K. as Amara, this exuberantly entertaining horror novel is grade-A Laymon, certainly his strongest to be issued stateside since his death in 2001. (When the market for his novels dried up here in the 1990s, this critically neglected author continued to publish and to sell well both in the U.K. and Australia.) As is often the case with Laymon, three plot strands loop through the narrative, braiding at novel's end to garrote the reader. The three are the murderous rampage of a resurrected female mummy in southern California (this plot line also includes an exciting first-person reminiscence set in 1926 Egypt by the man who excavates the mummy from its tomb); the nighttime meditations of a lonely young blind woman in California; and the ordeals of assorted victims kidnapped to an underground prison where they are sexually abused, sometimes slain, by unseen predators when the lights go out. The plot thread involving the mummy is the least interesting, because the staggering ferocious monster at its core shows as little character as the mummies of old Universal horror flicks; she's simply a force to be fought, though Laymon raises plenty of goose pimples here. The meditations of the blind woman sound a sad note that reverberates throughout and deepens the surrounding horrors; and truly amazing-inventive and transgressive-are the scenes set in the underground chamber, tours de force of pitch-black horror. Like all good Laymon novels, this one hurtles from start to finish-never mind the large cast and tripartite plot-and as in all Laymons, the sex, violence and violent sex will leave even jaded readers gasping. Bring on the popcorn. Laymon is back. (Sept. 2) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Leisure Books
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
4.16(w) x 6.72(h) x 1.12(d)

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Read an Excerpt

To Wake the Dead

By Richard Laymon

Dorchester Publishing

Copyright © 200

Richard Laymon

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8439-5104-4


Emil Saladat leaped down from the cab of the U-Haul van and
rushed to the cover of bushes near the wall. He watched Metar
run to join him. The van moved away, its taillights
disappearing around a bend.

Emil stepped into Metar's cupped hands for a boost. He
clutched the top of the brick wall and flung himself onto it.

This was so easy.

This American was a cinch.

No broken bottles embedded in the wall. No electrified wire.
No armed guards.

This American, Callahan, was making it so easy that Emil
should be ashamed to take money from his people. He would take
it, though, just as he had always taken it before, no matter
how simple the job. A man must put food into his belly. A man
must buy fine gifts for his women.

He reached down. Metar handed him the backpack. He set it on
top of the wall, lowered his arms again, and this time pulled
the smaller man off the ground.

From his perch on the wall, Emil looked toward the house. He
couldn't see it. Too many trees in the way. He knew it was
there, however. He and Metar had paid it a visit, just last

He leaped from the wall. Metar dropped the pack down to him,
then jumped. He held the pack while Metar slipped it on.
Turning away from the wall, they started toward the trees.

Out of the darkness sprinted a Doberman, itsfeet silent on
the summer grass.

This was Callahan's security?

It was laughable.

The dog yelped and tripped over itself as a .22-caliber
hollow-point slug crashed through its skull.

Then three more Dobermans raced out of the darkness. Emil
fired his silenced automatic, knocking a foreleg from under
the lead dog. As it tumbled, the one beside it leaped at him,
teeth bared. He stepped toward it, ignoring Metar's cry of
pain. The dog snapped, its teeth clattering on the silencer.
With quick twitches of his middle finger, Emil pumped two
bullets into its mouth. He sidestepped away from the lunging,
dying animal, swung his pistol from its mouth, and dropped the
dog he had previously hit in the leg.

Then he whirled around. Metar, the incompetent fool, was on
the ground fighting for his life as the last surviving dog
savaged his arm, trying to get through it to his neck.

Emil fired.

The dog yelped as the bullet tore through its spinal cord.

Then jerked and died.

Metar rolled out from under the heavy body and stood up. He
raised his bloody arm for Emil to see, like a child showing a
scraped elbow to his mother for sympathy.

Emil turned away in disgust. He hurried through the stand of
pine, and saw the Callahan house across fifty yards of neatly
groomed lawn. Floodlights illuminated the colonial's pillared
veranda. All the windows Emil could see, however, were dark.
He ran to the left side of the house, staying far from the
lighted front, and leaned against a wall.

Metar, a handkerchief tied around his wounded forearm, ran to
join him.

With friction tape, Emil reinforced a panel of the window. His
glass-cutter bit into the glass. He cut a rectangle.

A neat job. A good job. That's why his clients paid him well.

Holding it in place with tape, he pounded it loose and
withdrew it. He gave the neatly cut geometric lozenge of glass
to Metar, then reached into the gap. Unlatched the window.

It slid upward easily.


Emil climbed through. As planned, he found himself in
Callahan's study. He sat on a corner of the teak desk, and
watched Metar climb awkwardly through the window.

They crossed the study to the door. Emil eased it open. He
peered into the dark hallway, and gestured for Metar to

In the foyer, Metar's rubber-soled shoes made squeaking sounds
on the marble. Emil glanced sharply at his young partner. The
man shrugged, crouched. Removed his shoes.

Emil flashed the beam of a small flashlight toward the front
door. Next to it, on the wall, he found the speaker box and
remote-control button.

He pushed the button.

* * *

In the U-Haul van parked nearby, Steve Bailey squinted through
a haze of cigarette smoke at the iron gate. It began to swing

Very good.

In ten minutes, he would be done with this business. He would
be away from the house, and on the freeway to the airport. In
a couple of hours or so, he'd be with Carla. It was always
best with her, right after a job when he knew he was finally
safe, and the fear was gone, and he had money ... good
money ... in his pocket. His cock knew it was time to come out
of hiding and celebrate.

Easing his foot off the clutch, he rolled through the open
gate. He steered up the driveway, swung left, and drove over
the grass to the veranda.

* * *

With a hissing sputter, the acetylene torch came alive. Emil
watched his partner shoot its flame against the lock panel of
the steel door. The metal bubbled and peeled back like the
lips of a knife wound.

Raising the goggles to his forehead, Emil stepped silently
down the hall to the foyer. He squinted up the stairway.

Perhaps he should go up and put a bullet into Callahan's head.
Then he could go about his work untroubled by the man's
presence. Murder, however, would increase official interest in
the case. That was to be avoided, if possible.

As long as the old man didn't interfere, Emil would allow him
to live.

The torch shut off. Sparks winked out.

Emil returned to the door and helped Metar remove the severed
lock panel. As he set it aside, Metar loaded the torch into
the backpack and slung the straps onto his shoulders.

Slowly, Emil pushed the metal door open.

* * *

Robert Callahan, asleep in this upstairs room, heard the quiet
drone of his alarm and dreamed of sirens. An ambulance was
bearing down on a heap of torn cars. Sarah, lying in the road,
raised her bloody head and cried for help.

"There she is," shouted the ambulance driver.

Robert, for some reason dreaming that he was sitting in the
passenger seat, said, "Thank God she's alive."

"We'll soon fix that," said the driver.

The ambulance sped toward her. Lethal as a bullet.


"It's her due."


She stared with pleading eyes into the headlights. Stared into
the face of death.

Robert felt the vehicle jolt as it struck her.

Suddenly wide awake and panting with fear, he realized the
siren was the burglar alarm amplifier by his bed. Someone had
penetrated the collection room.

* * *

Emil entered the room, Metar at his side. Walking close to the
wall, he shined his light on the statuettes of gold and ivory,
on gold necklaces heavy with precious jewels, on scarabs and
brooches and glistening rings.

To see so many antiquities in a man's private collection
disgusted him. If he had time, would clean out the entire
collection of this grave robber.

But Emil had come only for Amara.

The thin beam of his light found a stone vase, its lid
decorated with the jackal head of the god Anubis. Beside it
stood a similar container, this with the head of a hawk. His
light fell swiftly across two more vases. These were the
Canopic jars holding the embalmed organs of Amara-heart,
lungs, kidneys. Her womb. He must take the jars tonight.

Swinging his flashlight, he found the coffin.

It was the wooden, inner coffin of Amara. The outer coffins
and massive stone sarcophagus had never left Egypt. The
thieves had taken this only, and the Canopic jars. And Amara

Stepping close to the coffin, Emil shined his light onto a
golden disk on the edge of its lid. He was thankful to find
the sacred seal in place.

Though vermin, Callahan was not a fool.

Leaning across the lid, he inspected the second seal. It too
appeared to be intact.

Reassured, he allowed himself to look down at the carved face
of Amara. It was a face of rare beauty, a face that might have
shamed Nefertiti herself, had the ladies' paths ever crossed.
But their paths were separated by centuries. Amara belonged to
the long-dead era of the eleventh dynasty, when Mentuhotep I
ruled and gods were young in the memory of the people.

Emil glanced at Metar, who stared as if hypnotized by the
beautiful image. With a tap on the arm he caught his partner's
attention. He pointed to the foot of the coffin.

Together, each at one end they lifted it. They carried the
dead-weight of it across the room, through the doorway, down
the dark hall. Emil's powerful arms strained with the weight.
Metar whimpered as wounds from the dog's bite stretched,
reopened, bled. At the end of the hall, the carpet ended. Emil
felt the marble of the foyer under his feet.

A few more steps, then they could set down the coffin while
Metar opened the door.

It was good to accomplish the hardest part first. The Canopic
jars would be easy after this.

He nodded for Metar to stop.

A quick blast shattered the silence. In the muzzle flash, he
saw Metar slammed backward, dropping the end of the coffin.
Mist jetted from between the casket and lid. Dust of the ages.
Corpse dust. Even as he looked toward the stairway, a second
flash and explosion filled the darkness. He had no time to

Steve Bailey, in the U-Haul van just outside the door, heard
the shots.

Holy shit.

They hadn't come from a .22.

They'd come from a high-powered sucker, like maybe a

Emil and Metar only carried peashooters.

So who had the cannon?

Bailey didn't wait to find out. He dropped the emergency break
lever, rammed the shift to first, floored the gas pedal, and
popped the clutch.

* * *

Callahan lowered the shotgun. His shoulder was numb from the
kicking stock. His ears rang as if they'd been slapped.

Stepping down the stairs, he heard an engine just outside the
door. It roared, then faded with distance.

Callahan stepped across the dark foyer, careful not to trip
over the bodies or the coffin. Near the door, he found the
light switch. Flicked it on.

Both the bastards looked dead. One had caught it in the chest.
The other had lost most his forehead.

He turned his eyes to the coffin. It had landed on its side.
Bending down, he saw a crack across one of the golden seals.


He glanced up the stairway. His small, swarthy friend looked
confused and frightened.

"Give me a hand with this, Imad."

"Robert, what happened?"

"These bastards tried to make off with Amara. Same two guys
who were here last week wanting to do landscape work."

As Imad reached the bottom of the stairs, his mouth dropped
open. "The Seal of Osiris," he muttered.

"I'm not blind. Give me a hand, we'll see how the other one

Together, they crouched and rolled the coffin off its side. On
the marble underneath lay two chunks of gold from the second

Gasping, Imad stepped back.

"Forget it," Callahan said. "We'll take care of it later."

Imad shook his head, his eyes large with fear.

"Let's just get these guys out of here first. We'll plant them
in the garden."

Still shaking his head, Imad stepped backwards toward the
door. He spun around. His trembling hands fumbled with the
locks, then he flung the door open and ran into the night.

Callahan watched him dash across the lawn, white robe

"Imad!" The man kept running. "Better off," Callahan muttered,
and pushed the door shut.

* * *

He slept soundly after the hard work of burying the men and
cleaning up the mess they'd left in the foyer. Bloodstains
were the worst. His snoring was loud in the darkness.

The figure entering the doorway didn't disturb him. He
continued to snore peacefully as it crossed the room. He
moaned once as it raised the covers on the empty side of the

It climbed in beside him. He knew, vaguely, that he was no
longer alone. Sarah must have come back from the bathroom. He
was glad to have her back. The bed felt so empty without her.

Rolling toward her, he put a hand out. It would be so good to
touch her skin. Sarah had always felt so soft, so smooth.
Hungry for her warm, supple body, he reached out, searching
for her. His fingers found the figure. Touched. Caressed.

It felt wrong, all wrong. He touched skin that was hard,
wrinkled. Cold.

With a nauseating jolt, he remembered Sarah was dead.

The shock woke him. At that instant he found himself gazing
into eyeless sockets and a leathery, shrunken face.

Something under the sheet touched his bare leg.

Slowly, the mouth opened.

Callahan started to scream.

The head jerked forward, jaws snapping shut, teeth barely
missing his throat.

Callahan rolled off the bed. His knees hit the floor. He
scurried, naked, trying to get on his feet. As he started to
rise, the mummy pounced upon his back. "Get off!" he shrieked.

Its dry fingers clutched him by the shoulders. He heard the
clatter of snapping teeth.

"Get off! No!"

Callahan got to his feet, but the thing kept its grip and
stayed on his back as he ran across the room.

Its teeth tore the side of his neck. Its head jerked savagely,

Callahan dropped to his knees. He reached behind him, hoping
to free himself from the creature. He gripped its hair. He
jerked. Tresses pulled loose in his hand.

The mouth kept biting and tearing long after he was dead.


Excerpted from To Wake the Dead
by Richard Laymon
Copyright © 200 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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To Wake the Dead 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Richard Laymon's books and I am on a mission to read them all. This is my top 10 favorite by Laymon. usually Laymon waits to the very ending to bring out all the horror that you've been waiting on. But no not with Amara on the loose she is on a destructive path killing whatever she crosses. There are alot of other plots going on at the same time but they all meet at the end. I can agree with the review below, toward the ending in the prison scene I was definitely screaming no why! why did you do it! Why did this have to happen! But Amara shows no mercy and can not be stopped, just don't get to attached is the only warning I will give you. How can you stop the dead? But yes the plot was great the mummy was awesome! Some of the scenes are really suspenceful and you don't want to show your mama this book LOL! Richard Laymon has got a dirty mind and fulfills all of our hidden fantasies. He just the only one to write books about it LOL! Please read this book and give Laymon a shot!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a great horror book and movie fan. This book delves into one of my other passions--ancient Egypt. The first person narrative of the discovery of the mummy is spellbinding.The prisoner thread is the main plot though but the mummy gets involved in that plot as well. The detective and his love interest are not that important to the book and some of the minor characters seem to disappear without deep explanation and left me questioning about them (the Egyptian and the street lady). The real surprise and twisted denouement centers around one of the prisoners and one of their captors. It left me screaming,'How could you?'
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really good, just like any other Laymon book. I read this book in 2 days because it was so entertaining and awesome.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1926 Robert Callahan accompanied his father to Egypt and through an unusual set of circumstances found the tomb of Amara, the favorite wife of Mentuhotep I. He unknowing opened the magic seal that prevented her from walking the night and actually saw the body of the man she had killed. He finds an Egyptian mystic to fashion two seals that will keep her in her coffin and when that is done he smuggles her home to add the sarcophagus to the family¿s Egyptian antiquities collection.

In the present thieves enter Robert¿s home and break the seal that binds Amara. Freed, she kills Robert before returning to her resting-place. The collection is willed to the Charles Ward Museum but at night Amara walks, killing anyone whom gets in her way. She looks for her infant son once buried with her and will not rest until she finds him. The police refuse to believe there is a killer mummy stomping around, but one man knows the truth and is bound by his promise to Robert to find a way to stop the mummy¿s reign of terror.

Richard Laymon is an award-winning author and after reading this book it is easy to see why. Unlike the recent Mummy tongue in cheek (wrap?) movies, TO WAKE THE DEAD is a very scary novel, so frightening that readers will go to bed with the lights on. The author has given the mummy quite a personality without her ever saying one word and somehow he makes her believable to the audience and that is what makes Mr. Laymon so good because few horror novelists ever achieve the stark realism he attains.

Harriet Klausner