First published back in June of 1984, Richard Laymon’s short story ‘The Intruder’ was released as a stand-alone story as part of the ‘Fastback’ series.  The Fastback series were designed to encourage reluctant-readers to take up reading, keeping the stories short, sharp and thrilling.

DLS Synopsis:
Goldie O’Neill had been relaxing in the pool when the phone started ringing.  She left it to ring on, disturbing the stillness of the quiet neighbourhood until the caller eventually got the message and hung up.  With the peacefulness restored, Goldie lay back in the warm water and continued to enjoy the rest of the day.

That night, after a thoroughly lazy day spent relaxing in the sun, Alice had watched a couple of films in the peace and quiet of the house before sloping off to bed.  However, her restful sleep would soon be broken when the sound of a glass pane being smashed echoes through the house.

Alone and with no way of getting out of the house, twenty-year-old Alice knows her only choice now is to hide…

DLS Review:
Although short and sweet (as all the Fastback are) this story is nevertheless textbook Laymon.  We have a young twenty-year-old girl first relaxing in the sun, then alone in a house whereupon an intruder breaks in.  Indeed, the first page or two of the story bear more than a little resemblance to the opening chapters of Laymon’s novel ‘After Midnight’ (1997) – with Goldie playing the part of Alice.

Although of course the story isn’t going to be a simple breaking and entering with our protagonist cowering away inside.  That’s not Laymon’s style at all.  Instead we have some damn impressive twists thrown into the story, sending the reader reeling at the implications as soon as they land.

As you’d imagine, there’s absolutely no hanging around with the tale.  It’s a quick-fire read that keeps cranking up the tension with each turn of the page.  For a five minute read you really can’t go wrong.  As I said - textbook Laymon.

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).

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