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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer


Bite

By Richard Laymon
A Leisure Book, 378 pp, 1999

The first Laymon book I read was a creepy vampire novel called The Stake. That was several years ago, but I remember liking it very much.

Bite begins with a surprise visit from 26-year-old Sam's former high school flame - Cat. He never stopped loving her, but she moved to Seattle and he hasn't heard from her in several years.

She has an interesting proposition. He needs to help her kill a vampire who's been sucking her blood for a year.

Naturally, Sam goes. He doesn't believe her (although she's got the obligatory bite marks), but he cannot resist being with her.

Well, it turns out there is a vampire, albeit one with steel teeth, and Sam and Cat kill him, quite messily. There's plenty of blood and guts in this first scene and throughout the book.

But the vampire (his name is Elliot) doesn't crumble into dust like in the movies. So now they need to dispose of the body. And that's were the real action starts.

Sam and Cat decide to take the body out of state and bury it in some barren, desolated outpost. But they pick up a white-haired drifter who calls himself Snow White, who proves to be a load of trouble. Throw in two teenage runaways, and the book becomes a compelling chase novel, and the vampire Elliot fades into the background, until the very end.

Despite the title, this really isn't a vampire novel, and that disappointed me at first. But I got over it as I read more. The book is fast, reads well, and filled with dark humor. Laymon does an especially nice job of using dialogue to reveal the characters and move the action.

This is a great book with several suspenseful scenes and a knockout beginning. I'll have to read more Laymon.

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