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The Midnight Tour Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, August, 1998

46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One of the authors most affected by the domestic turndown in the horror market in the 1990s is Laymon, who published many novels, mostly mass market, here in the '80s. He remains popular in the U.K. and Australia, with new books appearing there regularly, but his fiction has for the most part gone out of print in the U.S. So kudos to Cemetery Dance for bringing his new novel, a sequel to The Cellar and The Beast House, to American readers. It's classic Laymon, which means that it's full of titillating sex and violence aimed at the teenager in us all, but also that it's constructed in stripped-down prose that spits across the page and is rife with strong characters traced in deft strokes. Laymon expertly seeds the backstory?of the notorious house in a small California town, site of numerous savagings by an unknown species of sexually ravenous, humanoid "beasts"?throughout the narrative, which follows the liaisons and perils of a woman raped decades ago by a beast, and of several guides and tourists around the house, now a tourist attraction. A copulating couple is buried alive; Peeping Toms spy on three bathing beauties; a woman is raped, then handcuffed in a cellar tunnel?and so on in Laymon's lurid tale, which speeds steadily toward a bloody climax, the eponymous tour of the Beast House, and a merciless conclusion. It's a nightmare ride but plenty of fun for those who like their horror no-frills and nasty.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Beast House has a notorious history. Starting in 1903, this quaint Victorian in Malcasa, CA, has been the scene of repeated gruesome rapes and murders by "beasts"?a sort of mutated missing link, hairless like humans but powerful like apes with rending claws and fangs among their unique features. But the beasts are all dead now, or are they? Take "the midnight tour" of the house and find out. Laymon's characters are well drawn, and the first three-fourths of the novel effectively builds up suspense to the electrifying conclusion. Laymon writes humor well and uses it to relieve the tension. Reminiscent of Stephen King's "monster" stories, this novel does not rely upon horror cliches. It is not a story for young people, though, as there is a great deal of sex and gory violence. Still, horror fans will find some genuine surprises at the end. Recommended for all adult horror collections.?Alicia Graybill, Lincoln City Libs., NE
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Cemetery Dance Publications; Limited edition (August 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1881475409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1881475408
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,010,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Richard Laymon's works include more than sixty short stories and more than thirty novels, a few of which were published under the pseudonym Richard Kelly. However, despite praise from prominent writers from within the genre, including Stephen King and Dean Koontz, Laymon was little known in his homeland -- he enjoyed greater success in Europe, though, particularly in the United Kingdom -- until his affiliation with Leisure Books in 1999. The author largely viewed much of this as a product of the poorly re-edited and reconstructed first release of The Woods Are Dark, which had over 50 pages removed. The poor editing and unattractive cover art ruined his sales records after the success of The Cellar. The original and intended version of The Woods Are Dark was finally published in July of 2008 by Leisure Books and Cemetery Dance Publications after being reconstructed from the original manuscript by his daughter, Kelly.

His novel Flesh was named Best Horror Novel of 1988 by Science Fiction Chronicle, and both Flesh and Funland were nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, as was his non-fiction work A Writer's Tale. He won this award posthumously in 2001 for The Traveling Vampire Show. His win was used as an answer for a question on the syndicated Jeopardy program.

The tribute anthology In Laymon's Terms was released by Cemetery Dance Publications during the summer of 2011. It featured short stories and non-fiction tribute essays by authors such as Bentley Little, Jack Ketchum, Gary Brandner, Edward Lee, and scores of others.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Matthew King on January 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
Richard Laymon is easily one of the most prolific authors in horror fiction with over 50 titles published under his name. It's a bit surprising then that he has only written one series, the 3-volume Beast House chronicles, and given how good these beast house books are I certainly wish he had written other series. But hey, at least we have Beast House. This is the series that kicked off with 1980's cult classic "The Cellar", which also happens to be Richard's first-ever novel. He followed up that classic with 1985's "The Beast House" an atmospheric but ultimately rather disappointing sequel. The third novel, "The Midnight Tour" undoes the wrongs of the second novel to give us a vastly superior sequel. It's also the biggest beast house book, clocking in at over 530 pages in length which is roughly the size of the two previous installments combined. Despite the length, I can guarantee you that the pages will fly by to no end should you give this one a try.

"The Midnight Tour" takes place in 1997, roughly twenty years after the events in "The Cellar". By now, the beast house is a national attraction, drawing in tourists from all over the united states. Novels have been written about beast house, a string of cheesy horror films have been made based loosely on Beast House. And the Beast House has changed a lot from its humble beginnings as a tacky tourist trap. It's still tacky of course but now on a much bigger scale. You can visit the Beast House museum, buy Beast House t-shirts or savour some Bacon Beastburgers or Red-Hot Beastie Weenies at the Beast House snack stand. The day tours have also become more sophisticated, as you can now get an audio guided tour on earphones. But there is one Beast House tour to end all Beast House tours: The Midnight Tour.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RG69 on April 7, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With the final completed book in the Beast House series--unless you count Friday Night at the Beast House(released in the U.K.) as a true entry, this series has been good. The final book which is by far the longest and for me the least satisfying of the series. There seems to be way too much filler and I think some editing could have sped things up nicely. If you are reading this book, then you really don't need to have the house and monsters history again. The story itself is getting a little tired. With most of the monsters killed save for one at the end of the second book, the creatures really take a back seat in this story for the most part. You have the usual Laymon group of characters that come together at the end for the climax. The ending didn't seem satisfying enough for me. After 500 pages of reading, I really felt like something was missing. This was a good series, but this was certainly the weakest entry.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "midgeybear" on October 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Continuing the Beast House series started by the Cellar, continuing with The Beast House and ending up here Laymon continues to write with the eloquence and sheer shock that we have come to expect.
This novel lets us greet old friends, Sandy Hayes and Janice Crogan - albeit retrospectively as Janice is vacationing with her new husband - and introduces us to a whole host of new and intriguing characters. But the big question is does the beast still exist in Malcasa Point? Is Agnes Kutch harbouring beasts in the strange house across the street even now?
The Midnight Tour is just that, an unexpurgated tour of the Beast House for 13 adults at midnight every Saturday. Such a wonderfully simplistic idea but one which you just wish you could go on. Laymon makes not only his characters come alive in this book but also the town of Malcasa Point.
You care about Eve, Tuck, Warren, Dana and Owen............heck even Dark and Vein have their good points. But when he writes nasty characters he does so with abandon and Clyde and Monica illustrate this admirably being thoroughly nasty pieces of work and you can't help but smile as they "get theirs".
Be prepared for a couple of sleepless nights as you find yourself unable to put this book down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Howell on April 16, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Richard Laymon went all out for this one, issuing forth a 600 page story for the Beast House series. We get a couple different storylines going on. 1) Owen's long awaited trip to visit Beat House, 2) Dana's arrival at Beast House where she will be working as a guide, and 3) the past 17 year backstory on what Sandy has been doing between 1980, the end of The Beast House, and the present of 1997.

It's an awkward journey through the characters and the slow attempts to make the reader care about them but really the whole characterizations are lost and meaningless. Owen first shows up with his girlfriend Monica. You instantly dislike Monica and feel sorry for Owen. Then you like Owen for ditching Monica and returning to Beast House where he is fascinated by Dana's beauty. Then he hooks up with money-grubbing John and gets taken advantage of again in hopes of getting dirty pictures of Dana so now Owen is a bit of a sleaze. Owen then has to deal with Monica's sudden return and now he becomes da playa when Goth chicks Vein and Darke tag team him. It made little sense.

Dana isn't much better but you like her throughout the book despite the ever-reccuring 'love at first sight' crap seen throughout many of the characters presented. Sandy really deserved her own book for this but her attitude about the beasts are changed through instant decisions and it seems that Laymon had forgotten how much Sandy was into the beasts 17 years prior. The willful ravaging from the beasts seem to have left few marks on the 'gorgeous' model-like Sandy but more or less mutilates everyone else in the past. Consistency was lacking on Sandy's part. The whole Eve story was plain dumb.
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