“Friday Night in Beast House” is a suspenseful tale of adolescent curiosity and the brazenness that accompanies it. Simplistic, yet masterfully crafted, Laymon effortlessly takes us back to our younger years and the fears that accompanied it. Not your typical haunted house story, Laymon presents us familiar horrors that transcend anything a house or the supernatural could offer.
Sixteen year old Mark Mathews has a crush on his fellow classmate, Alison. She’d given him a smile from time to time. She never had an inkling, he was sure, of how he felt about her. And he’d intended it to remain that way until Bigelow – the school bully – spills Allison's school books onto the floor of the hallway.
After Mark helps her, he realizes he can’t keep his feelings bottled up any longer. He calls Alison after school under the guise of checking on her wounded knee. She answers his question before he has the chance to ask it. Yes. She will go out with him…on one condition: Mark must get inside “Beast House”, hide, and wait for her to join him at midnight for their first date.
“Beast House”, once the scene of unspeakable acts of torture and murder, is now relegated to a mere tourist attraction. The history of the legendary house has become nothing more than myth-fodder for movies, books and gossip. But if this is the case, why does Mark find the carcass of a mutilated animal when he attempts to break in? And once he gets inside, why is the lock on the cellar door gone? Will his fears force him to cry-off their date, or will his eagerness to achieve what was once only a dream prevail?
“Friday Night in Beast House” is a part of Laymon's “Beast House” series. It complements the series well, while also standing strong on its own as a stand-alone novel. Laymon’s trademark prose, pace and characterization is in full bloom here, pulling us into Mark’s world further and further, every terrifying step of the way.
Visit www.ains.com.au/~gerlach/rlaymon2.htm. Buy it today.
Reviewed by Ben Eads.