First published back in 2001, Richard Laymon’s chapbook ‘The Keeper’ was published by Gauntlet Press as part of their exclusive limited edition chapbook line which was designed to help promote the publisher’s books. The chapbooks were only available for purchase by ordering directly through Gauntlet Press and could only be ordered if purchased alongside another Gauntlet title.

Only 500 copies of the chapbooks were published, each of which were hand numbered on the last page.

DLS Synopsis:
Sammy and Joshua had gone fishing down by the deep woods on the south of town, It was as they were relaxing in the balmy summer heat that Sammy pulled out the special bait he’d brought with him. He’d purchased it off Wilbur Davis for a penny that very morning. It was the finger from a rather large hand. The finger of the notorious thug – Mace Garrison.

Along with the finger came a grisly story. One which Sammy was apprehensive to tell to his friend, as he knew Joshua was keen on Amanda Ashley, and the story concerned her too.

What happened to Amanda and her family had been the start of it all. What the Garrison boys did to them girls surely justified the vigilante violence that followed. The brutal, sadistic vengeance enacted upon Mace.

And now these two boys had his finger. A souvenir. A real keeper…

DLS Review:
This one’s a short, sharp and damn brutal story. In essence there’s not a huge amount to it. It’s simply a story of revenge, told through the voice of a young lad who’s gone fishing with his friend.

As this is a story that’s told through the young lad’s Deep Southern voice, there’s a whole heap of Southern twang thrown into the telling. We’ve given all the usual so-and-so heard from so-and-so. Proper gossip with all the elaborate delights of regurgitated Chinese whispers. But that just adds to the whole charm of the piece.

Anyway, it’s a story of vengeance that ends in a horrific account of torture and eventual murder. That’s really about all there is to it other than one small, skin-crawling little detail. That being Joshua’s absolute unending adoration for Amanda Ashley – the girl that was raped and murdered, and so the reason why he wanted to hang onto the finger.

All in all it’s an entertaining little story that packs quite a punch for its short length. Obviously, this is more a collectors piece than anything else, but enjoyable to sit down and read nonetheless.

The chapbook runs for a total of 8 pages.

© DLS Reviews


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