First published back in June of 1985, Richard Laymon’s short tale ‘The Trap’ was released as a stand-alone story for the Fearon Education ‘Fastback’ series.  The Fastback series were designed to encourage reluctant readers to take up reading, keeping the stories short, sharp and thrilling. This one was published as part of the Fastback ‘Spy’ series.

The story was later published within the ‘Descendants of Eve’ (1989) Fastback Anthology.

DLS Synopsis:
Bill Pierson wasn’t best pleased to be woken in the middle of the night by his phone ringing. The caller was his colleague, Brian, telling him about a potential new informant from the CIA. This unknown woman was offering them a big story in exchange for five thousand dollars. If Bill wanted the scoop, then the meeting would take place that night at 2:30am…in thirty-minutes time.

As was his nature, Bill was sceptical. It could just be another crackpot trying to make some easy money. Nevertheless, Bill Pierson was known for being the country’s number one journalist in exposing the truth about the government’s spying activities. If this woman really was from the CIA, then this could turn out to be one hell of a lead. A lead he wouldn’t want the likes of Herb Redman getting their grubby hands on.

Bill decided it was worth the checking out at least. If this woman was embedded in the CIA, then the information could be big. Possibly bigger than the Clyde Brownell scoop. And that had been huge! Hopefully this one would turn out to be similar, if not bigger and better…

DLS Review:
This is a fun one. For this short tale we see Laymon submerging us into the gritty and morally unscrupulous underbelly of journalism in the 1980’s. Combine that with the huge goings on America had with the Soviet KGB, and you have yourself a hotbed of potential for a huge journalistic scoop that could have some very serious repercussions for those involved.

Laymon sets down the premise and the resulting plot pretty swiftly, all the time casually painting a picture of our principal character’s low-moral compass. In fact, as we get further and further into the story, we gradually see more of how despicable this guy is. The real scum of the journalist world.

With the aforementioned plot set in motion, the storyline keeps cranking up the intrigue and tension with each page. Of course, the whole thing is hidden in the shadows. Neither side of this transaction for information, trusting each other.

The twist ending is delivered with a suddenness that just brings the whole thing hurtling to a swift and very satisfying conclusion. Textbook spy fiction and a thoroughly entertaining read.

The Fastback runs for a total of 28 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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