Saturday, March 29, 2014

Glory Bus by Richard Laymon

Glory Bus aka Into the Fire
by Richard Laymon
2005 Headline, as Into the Fire by Leisure Books

Laymon does a killer road trip novel, like all those movies in the 90s (Wild at Heart, Thelma and Louise, California, etc).  It's a sleazy fifty page novella of nasty characters doing nasty things.  Unfortunately, that novella is over 400 pages long, almost all of it that Laymon trademark - repetitive internal monologues of annoying people.

A college student picks up two separate murderous hitchhikers on the same day, and the three of them go on a rampage across the country.  Rampage may be a little strong of a word - they run over a couple cops and stab a couple people while stealing their cars.  There's also a weird bit where they stay at a hotel run by the cast of a canceled medical TV drama.  The page count would have been better served with more of these set pieces - if you actually outlined the plot, there's not a lot going on.

The other story that weaves into this one has a women kidnapped by a stalker.  She is rescued and brought to a small pit stop of a town, the Pit, that is run by cannibals.  The rampaging killers end up there and, whatever.

I don't feel bad about spoiling anything because Laymon's characters do it for me.  A character burns twenty pages thinking maybe the town is full of cannibals, then thinking how stupid and absurd that idea is, until the reader is convinced "Yeah, that would be kind of silly at this point".  Then he does it anyway.  Someone daydreams that he gets bit by a snake and a pretty girl has to suck the poison out.  Guess what happens.

The incessant mental babbling of the characters sucks any ounce of suspense or shock out of the events of the story.  It's too silly to be genuinely suspenseful, and doesn't push it far enough to be over the top.  Maybe I'm just bitter that there are no albino monsters with mouths in their tallywackers.

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