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Daniel I Russell - Writer of Horror Fiction


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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Friday Night in Beast House by Richard Laymon

This book has been a bit of a bugbear for me in recent years. I ADORE the Beast House trilogy of The Cellar, The Beast House and the Midnight Tour. Friday Night in Beast House, rather than be the forth book in the series, can be considered as a bonus: a long short story that sits in with the ethos of the series.

My bugbear was that this was so overly priced for a book that was about 140 pages. As I've discussed with fellow avid reader Jim McLeod over at The Ginger Nuts of Horror, a certain dollar/page ratio needs to be considered when purchasing a book. Why spend the same money on a short novella that might last you a few hours when you can buy long, long novel for the same price? This was my issue with this book for a long time. As much as I wanted to buy it, the price could not justify a purchase.

I'm glad I held back, as Leisure have rereleased the book, and with a lower cover price and additional novella, this makes it a much more reasonable purchase. Am I cheap? No. I buy too many books to squander money on expensive editions!

We have Mark, a randy (this is Laymon) yet studious boy who wants to score a date with Alison. Alison readily agrees, but on one condition: he has to get them inside the Beast House at Midnight on Friday night. As readers will know, The Beast House is a chamber of horrors type attraction in Malcasa Point. Three books have added to the horror there of albino beasts that rip men apart and rape every female they come across. Will Mark rise to the occasion?

It has been many years since my last trip into the Beast House. I think I was still a teenager in fact. Dipping into this novella was like visiting a place you'd been to on holiday a long time ago. It was great to revisit the wax work exhibits, go into the cellar and even the Beast tunnels. However, you do not have to be a follower to enjoy this book. It stands on its own quite nicely.

The horror is surprisingly light. This is more a story of lucky breaks, chances taken and a boy trying to pass the time. It is a good, fast read, but most of the novella is concerned with Mark getting into, and staying inside, the Beast House undetected by the staff. The Metal Gear Solid of the Beast House books, if you will. Will there be beasts? It could go either way. They haven't been spotted since the 70s. But maybe...just maybe...

For those that read my reviews on a regular basis, you know how much I have mentioned Laymon's obsession with camping and the mountains. With the bonus novella, The Wilds, we follow a chap who is...camping in the mountains! A first person POV piece, told via diary entries, this is a nice change from Laymon's usual style, but still covers the traditional areas. It again is a super fast read. In fact, I read the entire book, cover to cover, in a single day. And that was on my 30th Birthday. Something to tell the grand kids.

So there we have it. A quick review for a quick book. Not his best book, but a nice addition.

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 7:44 am :: 0 comments

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