Review: The Beast House by Richard Laymon
The Beast House, Richard Laymon’s eighth book, combines horror, mystery, and romance into a suspenseful and frightening story. School librarians Tyler and Nora are driving along California’s highways to look for Tyler’s old boyfriend, a small-town cop named Dan Jenson. Along the way, they find out that Dan is now working in Malacasa Point, and they pick up two additional riders, a pair of discharged Marines named Abe and Jack.
At Malacasa Point, the group comes across the Beast House, a creepy tourist attraction and the site of several grisly murders. It is here that Tyler discovers that Dan was killed during a routine patrol, and that Gorman Hardy, author of Horror of Black River Falls, has a connection to the Beast House and the torture and murders enacted there.
I liked the cinematic quality of Laymon’s writing style, making his story feel like a movie. He uses many specific details to describe the actions of the main characters and the appearances of the beast itself, thus enabling the reader to imagine them vividly.
However, there were two things that I disliked about this novel. First, some of the characters only show up once, and then the reader never sees them again. One significant example would be the driver who attacks the two librarians at the beginning of the novel, and then disappears. Secondly, Laymon focuses only on the relationship between Tyler and Abe, which may be a turn-off for readers wanting to know more about the other characters in the novel.
The Beast House is able to generate genuine fear in the reader, as the author is able to describe the scenes in the novel well. Thus, if you really love reading suspense stories, this book might be suitable for you.