- Audio CD
- Publisher: Dark Realms Audio (15 September 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1613310498
- ISBN-13: 978-1613310496
- Boxed-product Weight: 236 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
About the Author
Richard Laymon is the prolific author of more than 30 novels and 65 short stories which have been published in Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock and Cavalier. A Bram Stoker and Science Fiction Chronicle Award-winning author, his novels have been translated into fifteen languages.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The funny thing about this book is, even though the danger under Funland is what gets advertised, the storyline is really more about the various characters, their lives, and their dealing with other issues. You have Joan and Dave struggling to hold back their love for one another. You have Robin trying to fit in and deal with her runaway lifestyle. You have Jeremy trying to make friends and look cool before the trollers, as well as dealing with his lust for Tanya, the troller leader, and his love for Shiner, a fellow troller. There's also the steady decline of Tanya's sanity, as she becomes more and more macabre as the book goes along. The attacks and actual "horror" moments are so sparse compared to the other parts of the book that, halfway through, you might wonder, "Hey uh...weren't there monsters living on the boardwalk or something?" Don't get me wrong, I'm not using this against the book. It was just an amusing thing I discovered while reading. Like Victor Hugo's "The Cathedral of Notre Dame" (the original title for "Hunchback"), the title for this book seems to be just as much about the characters surrounding the location, rather than the more bizarre parts of the location itself. Don't read this expecting people to die every single chapter.
Things REALLY pick up in the last quarter of the book, when the characters discover Funland's darkest secrets. One thing I was surprised by was just how quick some of the character deaths went; sometimes it seemed way too quick, as if Laymon suddenly decided the body count needed to rise, and it needed to rise fast. For someone considered infamous for his descriptions of gore and violence, a lot of the deaths didn't seem that bad, or were so briefly described that they didn't feel all that gory. The actual climax of the book was especially amusing to me. I won't give too much way, but I will say that, as I read it, I felt like the vision in my head was the final boss battle in a video game. Again, I won't give any spoilers, but if you've ever played a video game, then once you get to that part, you'll know EXACTLY what I mean. The only downside of the climax is that a lot doesn't seem to get resolved afterward. What were the motivations of the villains? How did this thing get fully organized? Questions like these are either answered partially, or not at all. The ending almost felt a little rushed in that regard.
Like the other Laymon book I read ("The Cellar"), characters are for the most part weak in their delivery. If you gave me a line of dialogue from any character, I would probably be unable to tell you who exactly it was, since they all use the same swear words, the same kind of slang, etc. I was especially amused how EVERYONE in Boleta Bay, even the more liberal ones, referred to the homeless people as "trolls." Nobody ever refers to them as the homeless or any other name, except maybe in passing or in the book's description. The only dialogue that might stand out to me would be from Cowboy (a troller who talks in wild west speak) and the bums (who of course have drunken accents). Ironically, the two characters who stood out the most for me in their personalities were the trolls Mag and Charlie. I say ironic because they're in a small section of one chapter, and (to my recollection) are never mentioned again; however, their banter and antics made me hope they would come up more often in the book (sadly, they didn't). Poppinsack was also a fun character, even though the book takes a few dark turns with him. All that being said, I did feel at least EMPATHETIC with a lot of characters: I actually cared about Dave and Joan, and found myself become involved in the Jeremy/Shiner/Tanya love triangle (if it can be called that). Strange as this might sound, while I didn't find a lot of the characters unique, I did end up still interested in what they were doing, in one way or another.
I was also amused by certain elements of the story line. Apparently, after so many accounts of disappearances and the assault/rape of a minor, all of which are connected to the trolls, nobody thinks to try to push the homeless out, or put more police on the boardwalk, etc. It seems like all the police do in Boleta Bay are patrol Funland and give people rides around town. One would've also thought there would be far more trollers out there, or people who would just be more curious as to WHY so many people are disappearing over by Funland. I'm also amused that hundreds upon hundreds of dirty, drunken, and very aggressive panhandlers didn't hurt Funland's business or attendance, given not only the fact that there are past crimes attributed to them, but by the very real fact that most businesses out there don't like frequent panhandlers harassing their customers, as it turns many away.
Despite all the problems or shortcomings I may have listed, the book is still fun as a read, even if as a guilty pleasure. I enjoyed getting it all the way through, and by the time I got to the third act, I couldn't put it down, and ended up staying into the late hours of the night finishing it. I didn't regret my time spent on it, from the shocking beginning to the happy conclusion - a conclusion which had quite a surprise ending for one character. But I won't give it away. Read it.