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4.2 out of 5 stars37
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 23 July 1999
This book was my first Richard Laymon book so it will always be special for me. Laymon creates sick and twisted characters you want to kill, side by side with loveable cool characters you want to hug and kiss. The thriller builds up to a page turning climax in the last 100 pages. Some great plot twists makes this book into being even nicer. If you never read a Laymon try this one first. If you DID read a Laymon and liked his style, YOU MUST GET THIS ONE!
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on 1 June 2005
Jeremy and his mother have just moved from a remote village to the californian seaside resort of Boleta Bay. The 16-year old is thrilled to bits about the new town - everything is just so exciting. There's the beach with lots of half-naked girls who he likes to watch for hours and hours on end, and the buzzling fun park which tells of excitement and adventures. The only problem is that Jeremy doesn't know anybody of his own age just yet, and so he makes it his first mission to find some new friends. Since he's had the image of a sissy and a loser in his old village, he's now determined to make a fresh start. He decides he is going to do whatever it takes to be seen as cool. When a group of teenies approach him, they seem nice enough, but as Jeremy gets to know them better he soon finds out some nasty little secrets about his new friends. And that's when the horror begins...
Gina Skinner [...]
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VINE VOICEon 15 March 2008
I've read about 20 Richard Laymon books now and there isn't a single one I havent loved - although some are better than others as with any auther - I'm beginning to think he cannot write a bad book!

Funland wasn't one of my favourites for the most part, but the last 100 pages or so is pure brilliance and some of the best chapters written in a Laymon novel, so deffinatly worth reading for the ending, and the first three quaters is very good for character development and builds up a lot of suspence (as well as some bloody scenes) for the big ending.

16 year old Jeremy moves to Boleta Bay with his mother where he sunbaths on the beach, stares at teenage girls in their bikini's and explores Funland, a large funpark located at the beach. It's not long before he makes friends and is invited to join them. they explain to them that they are troller and at night the sneak out to funland to beat up/kill trolls (tramps which seem to be almost taking over the town).

As the violence escalates, so does the tension as it all builds up to a shocking climax - will anybody survive? Read it and find out.
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on 12 April 2012
This was an excellent read. A strong mystery story and a very creepy atmosphere add up to classic Richard Laymon. The descriptions and language used are great and make it a hard book to put down! I'm glad all the Laymon books are being released on ebook. It's about time!
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on 6 July 2000
This book is one of Richard Laymons best ever, with a fantastic twist at the end and non-stop heart pounding action throughout the whole novel. You MUST read this book
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on 29 April 2014
Context first: I've read a handful of Richard Laymon's books. I've enjoyed all of them to one degree or another - some more than others - and while I feel satisfied when I finish one, I can't say I feel the sort of sense of loss when I come to the end of fellow genre writers such as Stephen King or James Herbert or Robert McCammon. There are a couple of exceptions, but overall he's a perfectly good read and can be relied upon to deliver a pretty solid story.

What he writes: Laymon's books are, almost without exception, thrillers that live at the edges of psychological horror. Generally speaking they're dark and almost unremittingly believable - which, in the end, is what makes them so disturbing

How does this compare to his other work: In truth, this is at the lower end of his personal scale. Funland was written in 1989 (published in 1990) is, chronologically, at the midpoint of his published career. Slightly lazy and with a bloated narrative, it features an altogether too convenient (and therefore trite) ending. But in the moments where it counts and where Laymon finds himself writing from the darkest parts of his mind, the pace is blistering.

Plot: People in the seaside resort of Boleta Bay, California, are disappearing and the townsfolk think the growing vagrant population are to blame. A group of teenagers have taken it upon themselves to rid Boleta Bay of the problem by targeting the bums and hobos. But something wicked is lurking beneath the boardwalk and the kids are about to find out just how bad things in Boleta Bay can really get.

The book runs to 500 pages and the headline from me is that that's about 150 pages more than it probably needs to be. There's an awful lot of superfluous narrative here which bloats the pace and deadens the effectiveness of Laymon's usually on-point writing.

Sex - or the fascination with it - has always featured prominently in Laymon's novels, but here it's ridden with teenage angst written by someone who was 43 when he committed it to the page. With the best will in the world, it's hard to recapture that first flush of youthful enthusiasm when you're close to 30 years away from it! And so it proves here. At every opportunity, a sweater is lifted, a breast is glimpsed, the paleness of a thigh is revealed, a warmth is growing somewhere. My awkwardness at reading it had nothing to do with prudishness and everything to do with a lack of credibility. And even the adults are at it every chance they get - including the two cops at the centre of the story. I've no problem with sex scenes in books - really. It's just that in most cases here they're not relevant to the story.

The characters - particularly the teenagers - are hard to like and given they drive the body of the storyline that makes it a hard proposition: how do you get emotionally involved in the stories of people you could care less about? The arch-villain of the story is a throw-away character who you never really come to know and therefore never really come to despise.

The dialogue is, at times, a bit clunky, as though even Laymon realises this is a by-numbers project.

In the end, I just didn't feel there was enough of the author invested in the book to make it a real page-turner. The question is: who to blame? The fact is, I know plenty of authors who write 'long' and rely on the skills of their editors to excise the unnecessary fat (there's a good reason why most authors acknowledge their editors in print!) This book feels like it hasn't really been looked at by an editor at all - and suffers as a result.

I've concentrated on what's wrong. But there's a lot right, too. It is, in true Laymon tradition, disturbing, almost to the point of being in bad taste. It's descriptive and evocative in places and the core of the story is strong enough to make you forgive, if not forget, the flaws. But for a 500 page book, this is awfully shallow.

As the stars say, it's okay. But there's much of Laymon's work that's great.
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on 18 September 2012
Funland is the 2nd Laymon book I have read. The other being Blood Games.

The book starts off with our main character, Jeremy, who has moved to the fictional town of Boletta Bay with his mother.
He spends his day going down to the Funland amusement park & that is where it all kinda goes wrong for young Jerry.
He gets in with the wrong crowd & it all leads to the worst night in Jeremy's life.

This book is good, but it's not great. I would have gave it 3.5 stars out of 5, but I couldn't. So I gave it 4.
The book is very similar to the shining (Not the story, they couldn't be more different) in the sense that its a 500 page book.
The first 400 pages with the exception of the odd bit of suspense + horror, nothing really happens. Then for the last 100 pages the book kicks into overdrive & boy does it deliver. There are some brutal, brutal deaths & I pray to God that there is nowhere in the world that is anything like Jasper's funhouse. It should really be called Jasper's horrid house of death & mutilation. The deaths come fast, furious & brutal. All the entrants of the funhouse's lives are changed for the worst. I just wish Heather had stayed to play with the occupants. I hated her!

The biggest problem for me with this book, is our main character Jeremy. He's an idiot. He's too busy trying to win the heart of Tania (You know that girl at school that was so hot, she would act as if she is a godess, but at heart is a piece of trash? Yeah, that's Tanya), when he has a great thing going with the beautiful & much nicer, Shiner. He becomes so obsessed over Tanya, that he becomes unlikeable. Just like the rest of his new friends. Well, Cowboy was pretty cool. He looks out for his girl Liz & kicks some ass. He isn't as evil as the rest of the Troller's, but at the end of the day. He is part of sum of the evil crimes they commit.

I found the whole Robin/Nate relationship very unbelievable & just couldn't accept that this would happen in real life. I thought there was going to be some sinister twist to the whole thing, but in the end, it turns out to be filler before the main attraction.

The story itself. New guy moves to a new town, that happens to have a big problem with people disappearing. He hangs out at the local amusement park where he meets a sinister group of new friends that change his attitude & the way he acts.
The Lost Boys anyone?
& yes although there are no vampires or frog brothers in this tale. Laymon had to be thinking about that film when he wrote this book.

All in all, it is a good book to read. It moves along at a great pace & has an absolute excellent last 100 pages.
Plus I loved the last page of this book. Laymon is not afraid to punish his villains. & in this. His villains are punished for their sins. Some who you wouldn't expect & others who you wish would die from the moment you meet them.

Read this if you are looking for a quick blast of action, horror & gore. You wont be disappointed :)
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on 15 July 2012
I decided to give this book a go to introduce me to Laymon, I chose this book as I liked the ingredients the story was offering. A spooky funhouse / amusement arcade, derelicts, a new boy in the area, etc. *SPOILERS.* I found the story very slow moving and confusing with a large number of characters but decided to persevere with the book even though there was actually no horror or suspense in the story. The characters are paper thin and the main character "Duke" (among others) seems to have an unbelievable lack of personal motivation and just does whatever the writer requires at any point in time. It does pick up at the end horror wise but by then it's unnecessary and it becomes very surreal in the process. The main plot point is never resolved as we don't find out why the derelicts (bums, trolls, whatever you call them) were cannibalistic sexual assailants, instead we have the funhouse owner riding a giant spider while firing guns... I don't think I'll be wasting my time with another Laymon book for a while.
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VINE VOICEon 23 October 2003
This is easily one of the best Laymon books I have read. The story involves several main characters, but twists and turns so much you won't know who if any of them will reach the end of the book.
If you are a fan of Laymon then this should be in your collection; if you are new to Laymon, then this is the best introduction to a very talented author.
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on 28 June 2000
Funland is probably my favourite Laymon book. It`s a great mix of topics, with coming of age drama, love relationships and mysterious disaperances and coming together at the end to form a terrifying conclusion that comes from nowhere- EXCELLENT
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