Mark and Alison dont believe the gruesome legends of Beast House. But theyll learn the truth when they sneak in late one night.
In February of this year, Laymon, then president of the Horror Writers Association, died of a heart attack at age 53. A few weeks ago, the last of his novels to be published before his death, The Traveling Vampire Show, won the HWA's Stoker Award for best novel of the year. Soon after Laymon died, Cemetery Dance, which issued that award winner, brought out Night in the Lonesome October. But it turns out that wasn't the last we'll see of Laymon, nor is this new, enjoyable short novel. The Beast House Chronicles, launched in 1979, made Laymon's reputation. This novella is the slightest of the series four entries, emotionally as well as in page length, but it features all the trademark Laymon touches. There's a horny teen protagonist, Mark, and a spooky adventure, as Mark accepts the dare of the girl of his wet dreams, Alison, that he help her sneak into Beast House, scene of several horrific murders during past decades and now a major tourist attraction in the small West Coast town where it stands. There are plenty of suspenseful and scary moments as Mark breaks into the Beast House and hides in the Beast Hole, and a particularly shocking twist at book's end. Above all, there's that inimitable Laymon style, the use of simple, strong sentences to construct, via extraordinarily vivid sensual detail, a narrative that envelops the reader in a moment by moment revelation of events in the service of a story that's terrific, nasty fun. All Laymon fans and anyone who likes horror served with a cackle are going to like this one. Publishers Weekly