First published back in June of 1985, Richard Laymon’s short story ‘Guts’ (aka ‘The Hearse’) was released as a stand-alone story for the ‘Fastback’ series.  The Fastback series were designed to encourage reluctant-readers to take up reading, keeping the stories short, sharp and exciting.  ‘Guts’ fulfilled these criteria perfectly.

DLS Synopsis:
Its Tom Harris’ first night on the job with a private investigator firm.  His boss has coupled him up with a burly co-worker named McCoy; their job that night is to repossess a hearse that the owner - Uriah Stubbins has failed to keep his payments up on.  The previous night McCoy’s colleague Beamis was sent out for this very hearse, but he hasn’t been seen since.  No doubt he bottled it.  But tonight shouldn't be a problem, because Harris has guts...

DLS Review:
For this fast-paced shot at horror from one of the most highly revered writers of the genre, Laymon cuts to the chase from the outset, laying down the plot and premise in a matter of seconds, then quickly bounding on with the suspense inducing antics that form the very backbone of the tale.

The storyline expertly plays off the two characters of Harris and McCoy, allowing their dialogue to do nearly all of the work for the development of the plot.  Throughout the short tale, Laymon laces the story with a hefty undertone of black comedy, bringing out a sly smile from the reader as the macabre twist ending is finally unveiled.

All in all this is a quick and amusing read that will certainly entertain the reader for a good few minutes.

The Fastback runs for a total of 30 pages (which are just 4” x 5.5” with an average word count of around 100 words per page).

© DLS Reviews

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