Leisure, Mar 2008, $7.99
In North Glen, Illinois in 1975, seventeen years old Albert Prince is looking forward to having sex with Betty, but he is shocked when she demands twenty dollars. He is six dollars short; she tells him to come back when he can afford her. He leaves outraged.
Albert knifes a stray dog, which gives him some sadistic pleasure. On a supermarket checkout line, he observes the address on a check of a female customer. Not long afterward, he breaks into her home and hides in the closet until a man and woman arrive; he knifes the male and begins cutting the woman ending the crescendo with a final plunge. He hitches a ride out of state and kills the driver. He seeks young attractive females so he can break into their homes and terrorize them with his knife before killing them. He ends up in California where he meets some people from a college. The daughter of one of the teachers was attacked by him in Denver. He is about to learn that California girls are nothing like the females he browbeat into doing what he demanded of them.
CUTS is a horror story that in spite of no supernatural element cuts deeply into the psyche of readers; sort of like the first Jaws movie did. The antagonist is an amoral cold blooded monster of the human kind who thinks nothing of torture and murder especially getting off when it occurs in the sanctuary haven of someone’s home. Richard Laymon’s thriller is very frightening because Albert seems plausible as he craves the slice and dice of a sexual snuff predator, knowing he will never change; the only prevention of his sick sexual slashing is to either kill him or lock him away forever.