The Beast House
By Richard Laymon
The Beast House is
the second book in Richard Laymon's Beast House series.
The book is 369 pages long and although it would be possible to read it
as a stand-alone novel, reading The
Cellar will allow a better understanding of the
story. I must warn you though, neither book is suitable reading for the
faint-hearted. So if sex and horror offends, you might want to avoid a
tour of the Beast House.
The first Beast House killing spree happened in 1903, when
Lillian Thorn owned the property, but that was just the start. The
present owner, Maggie Kutch, lost her family to the Beast, back in 1931
and, realizing the money-spinning potential of the place, she turned it
into a museum and has been conducting guided tours of the house ever
In the previous book the central characters were Donna Hayes and her
young daughter Sandy. Donna's child molesting husband, Roy, had been
released from prison, so she and Sandy fled up the coast to Malcasa
Point, home of the Beast House. They didn't flee far enough. Roy found
them. The Beast found them all.
The Beast House
picks up the story a year later. Donna and Sandy are still involved in
the story, but
their roles are diminished. After Donna and
Sandy 'disappeared' from their room at The Welcome Inn, the
proprietor's daughter, Janice Crogan, found Lillian Thorn's diary in
their room and The Beast House begins with a series of letters between
Janice and a famous author named Gorman Hardy. Janice feels that a book
about the Beast House could make a lot of money and, because she is the
one with the diary, she wants a fifty percent split of the profits.
Janice is an important character in the book, as is Hardy, but the main
characters this time around are four other guests at The Welcome Inn:
Tyler Moran and her friend Nora Branson and two ex-marines called Abe
Clanton and Jack Wyatt. Tyler has come to Malcasa point hoping to find
her lost love, Dan. Before the girls even manage to get as far as the
inn though, they run into trouble and when Abe and Jack come rushing to
their rescue love is in the air and it looks like old love Dan is
destined to loose his place in Tyler's heart to new guy Abe Clanton.
A lot of this book concerns the blossoming relationship between Tyler
and Abe. Jack and naughty Nora are too busy with their own holiday
fling to feel like gooseberries, but their romance stays in the
background and neither of them is ever a viewpoint character.
Most of the main characters in The
Beast House are easy to like. Gorman Hardy, however, is
the exception. He is a nasty man and I did not have to get too far into
the book before I began hoping that he would become beast fodder.
is a lot happening in this book: Tyler's search for Dan and her budding
romance with Abe; Gorman Hardy's selfish search for further fame and
wealth, Donna's strained relationship with her daughter, and the reader
even finds out about the origins of the original Beast, courtesy of a
strange old dude name Captain Frank. All in all it is quite a story and
if, like me, you like the book, you can find out what happens next by
reading the next book in the series The Midnight Tour.
List of Richard Laymon books reviewed on this site ~