Wednesday, 22 August 2012
'Friday Night in Beast House' - Richard Laymon (BCA)
The only other book of Laymon's that I've read, prior to now, is 'Savage' (and I didn't get on with that at all) so there's still a pretty big gap to be filled if I'm going to count myself as a fan of horror fiction; Laymon's work is a pretty big deal. Where better place to start then than 'Friday Night in Beast House', a book that was only 99p in my local 'Works' (always a great place to pick up cheap books). Not only that but the book was only a hundred and fifty one pages long. I'm all about quick reads at the moment :o)
'Friday Night in Beast House' was a surprisingly good read (although a little bit of a let down at the end, more on that in a bit), certainly good enough to have me keeping an eye open for any of Laymon's other books.
Alison has one condition for guys wanting to date her; that first date starts at midnight and is in the legendary Beast House (the site of several gruesome murders decades ago and now a major tourist attraction). Mark will do anything for a date with Alison and has managed to find a hiding place in the Beast House waiting there until the tour guides have locked up and gone home. As he tries to settle his first dates nerves, Mark has no idea that things are about to get a lot worse...
I really didn't think I'd get into 'Friday Night in Beast House' as much as I did. I may not have jumped once (not such a good thing...) but it's a very tense read and one that I found myself having to stick around and finish. This is all down to Laymon really getting that a first date can be just as scary, for a teenager, as what might still lurk within the Beast House. There is a lot riding on Mark's attempts to stay hidden and the reader can't help but share in his anxiety as he works his way around the house, trying to find somewhere to hole up and stay hidden.
The tension continues after closing time as Mark slowly realises that he might not be alone in the house after all; especially after what he found on the roof earlier. My heart was pretty much in my mouth as he tries to get out of the door, thinking that something is behind him...
The last part of the book leaves the tension behind though and heads back into familiar horror territory; a move that ended things on a slightly sour note for me. Two horny teenagers in a haunted house? It wasn't hard to see what would happen next and... it did. The final scenes were harrowing, and ever so slightly implausible (Alison was ok after that...?), but completely expected and any tension just blew away...
Despite that ending though, I had a lot of fun reading 'Friday Night in Beast House' and can see myself searching out the other three books to see what they're like. A scary read that didn't quite live up to its early promise.
Eight out of Ten