The Stake by Richard Layman
Published January 28, 2005
- Author Richard Layman
Larry and his friend Pete stumble upon a coffin under the stairs of an old hotel in a deserted town. The body inside has a stake through the heart - is it a vampire? Or have they stumbled across some kind of sick joke? Should they mess with the body? This is most of the story, as well as a somewhat irrelevant subplot involving Larry’s daughter and her relationship with a teacher.
Larry himself is a horror fiction writer, so immediately the book is like a book inside of itself. He loves his family, but also covets his best friend’s wife, and easily gets obsessed with this potential vampire. He gets a bit crazy towards the end.
There’s plenty of material to work with here, a body, a stake, a killer, a teacher/student issue, family matters all kinds of things. As a horror writer, Laymon doesn’t seem to want to stray too far from reality. However, without being allowed to stretch your imagination, the suspense is all the book is about and the story is padded around three basic questions. Is she a vampire? Who killed her? What about the daughter?
When everything gets wrapped up at the end, I was left feeling cheated, as though I’d been strung along for far too long and the writer had just given up.