Horror, Review

The Cellar by Richard Laymon – Beast House Book 1


Donna Hayes is a sweet-natured woman with a monstrous ex-husband and an entertaining teenage daughter, Sandy. The day Donna finds out he is freed from prison she hits the road, taking Sandy and running as fast as she can. Roy Hayes truly is an undisguised horror, released upon the world and is now hunting his wife and daughter.

Malcasa Point may not be the typical tourist stop, but it is not unheard of. How can it not be known, when its main draw is a place of murder, called the Beast House? There have been eleven mysterious killings since it was built, in 1903. Those few who have survived talk of a hideous beast with claws. The current owner, Maggie Kutch, left the house in 1931, after the murder of her husband and children. She makes her living by displaying the house to those who are curious and not overly disturbed by monsters and murder. She is a seriously creepy woman with a cold attitude towards death, uncaring of how her tour is perceived, and takes far too much enjoyment of her mannequins who mimic death. I didn’t care for her one bit; she is definitely an unsympathetic character. However, she is perfect for this story.

As Donna and Sandy drive away from their home, Donna prays she is leaving Roy Hayes far behind; he can’t possibly know what direction she has chosen. Unfortunately, it is at Malcasa Point that she loses her way in the fog and drives off the road. She and Sandy are okay, but the car is not going anywhere anytime soon. They find a hotel with the help of another creepy character, Axel Kutch. Donna discovers that the creep factor of Malcasa Point is off the charts.

When Sandy talks her mother into taking the tour of Beast House, Donna is fortunate to meet Judgment Rucker and Larry Maywood. She would be stunned to find out the real reason Jud and Larry are taking the tour. Jud’s calm demeanor provides the courage needed by Donna to pursue her interest in him and gives her strength when she finds his interest in Beast House has dragged her right through its door in the dark of night. Gradually, several people are drawn into the story of Beast House and they will never be the same.

At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this book. Horror gives me the willies, which is the point of reading one. As I read, I was intrigued and completely drawn into the tale of ignorant people rushing headlong into danger and the fact that they truly thought they could conquer anything.

The rating:

  • Genre and general reading age – Horror for older teens and adults.
  • Level of sexuality – High.
  • Is there graphic language? Yes.
  • Did I cry? No.
  • Did I laugh? Not until the end.
  • Is this part of a series? Yes, the Beast House Series.
  • Level of character development – I thought the characters were well-developed and I enjoyed most of them and the parts they played in moving the story along.

I cringed every time Roy Hayes showed up. He is a totally evil individual and I hoped he’d drop dead, or meet some other detestable fate. I’ll leave that to you to find out, but his story heightens the tension in the book. The other characters are drawn to Beast House and the monster, which provides a terrific storyline. Overall, I really like the book, however, the ending was heavy-handed and earned ⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.

Available here on Amazon

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