Greetings from Laymonland, where all men dream of women’s tits and women get raped as a matter of course. A bunch of students fool around with an Ouija board and make contact with a supernatural entity named Butler, who guides them to a treasure hidden somewhere in the mountains. Road trip!
After the promising seance that begins this bloated nonsense, the novel careers off to a discount slasher on a remote camping ground and stays there until the end, with the kids swimming and goofing around and doing very little of any interest. Meanwhile a muscular half-nude man with a machete stalks the forest because it’s a thing that happens, apparently. There might’ve been a back story to the killer but honestly, by that time I’d already checked out.
Laymon’s prose and dialogue are dull beyond dull, a constant diarrhea of inane language. The characters of Howard and Angela are (horny) outsiders, the teacher and her beau are the (horny) adult characters and the rest are just names on a page. The plot is idiotic, with the final rapey twists bending the structure of the novel so hard the book can probably rape itself.
And yes, there’s a whole lot of raping going on, rape here, rape there, some rapes in the past and some imagined rapes, rape rape rape. At one point, one of the female characters even says she wishes she had been raped, because I guess deep down all the Laymon characters just want to have violent non-consensual sex. My objection here is not out of political correctness: it’s because this stuff is in a profoundly poor taste for cheap shock value and no other reason. It’s something only a truly pathetically bad novelist would do.
There’s no redeeming feature here. Sometimes Laymon’s novels can have a fast plot or just rapid violent action, but here it all feels stilted. The settings are uninspired, the pace is noticeably slow, the villains make no sense at all, the good guys are boring af. I don’t need an Ouija board to tell me that Darkness, Tell us is S-H-I-T.