Leisure, Sept 2003, 24.00, 384 pp.
In 1926 Robert Callahan accompanied his father to Egypt and through an unusual set of circumstances found the tomb of Amara, the favorite wife of Mentuhotep I. He unknowing opened the magic seal that prevented her from walking the night and actually saw the body of the man she had killed. He finds an Egyptian mystic to fashion two seals that will keep her in her coffin and when that is done he smuggles her home to add the sarcophagus to the family's Egyptian antiquities collection.
In the present thieves enter Robert's home and break the seal that binds Amara. Freed, she kills Robert before returning to her resting-place. The collection is willed to the Charles Ward Museum but at night Amara walks, killing anyone whom gets in her way. She looks for her infant son once buried with her and will not rest until she finds him. The police refuse to believe there is a killer mummy stomping around, but one man knows the truth and is bound by his promise to Robert to find a way to stop the mummy's reign of terror.
Richard Laymon is an award-winning author and after reading this book it is easy to see why. Unlike the recent Mummy tongue in cheek (wrap?) movies, TO WAKE THE DEAD is a very scary novel, so frightening that readers will go to bed with the lights on. The author has given the mummy quite a personality without her ever saying one word and somehow he makes her believable to the audience and that is what makes Mr. Laymon so good because few horror novelists ever achieve the stark realism he attains.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner