To Wake the Dead (Book Review)
by Richard Laymon, Leisure Books, 384 pgs. (hardcover)
$24 (hardcover), $7.99 (paperback), 2003, ISBN: 0-8439-5104-4
This first-edition hardcover horror novel concerns a 4,000-year-old mummy wandering around in modern-day California.
Yes, you read that correctly – a mummy.
There haven’t been that many mummy tales hitting book shelves lately. The silver screen has been amply illuminated by the Universal franchise of fear – The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, and The Scorpion King. But bookshelves have been fairly barren on the subject until now. Both Laymon and Joe R. Lansdale (who released Bubba Ho-Tep) have penned novels offering new slants on mummies.
In To Wake the Dead, Amara, the Princess of Egypt, is collecting dust in the mansion of the rich and elderly Robert Callahan. Then the corpse is freed of its wrappings during a foiled burglary attempt and all hell breaks loose.
This novel is free flowing; taking unexpected twists and turns. Laymon presents many different story lines: a romance between a police officer and an assistant curator of a museum; teenagers held in cages by a sex-crazed maniac; a crazy street person with an obsessive crush; three runaway teens from South Carolina escaping from a horrible past; a blind lady lonely for love; and 38 pages of “The Memoirs of Robert Callahan,” all sewn together better than Frankenstein’s monster – all so perfect and seamless.
To Wake the Dead is a wild ride, a perfect mix of helter-skelter horror and humor. Another macabre masterpiece by Richard Laymon – with an introduction by Dean Koontz! What more could you ask for?
(The book is now available as an ebook too)