Monday 27 July 2015

REVIEW: Adam Cesare - Mercy House

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Hydra
Publication Date: 9th June 2015
Pages: 280


I received an advance copy of Mercy House from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Hydra.

Not read much by Adam Cesare but loved his contribution in Jackpot and heard really good things about Mercy House so grabbed my chance to get a copy from NetGalley. What a journey this turned out to be!

Don and Nikki Laurel are on a road trip to Mercy House. It’s an old people’s home. They are taking Don’s mother Harriet there but she really doesn’t want to go. She thinks Nikki is to blame for her going there and hates her with a vengeance.

Sarah Campbell is a nurse in Mercy House. She does everything by the book to make sure all the residents have as much of a pleasurable stay as they can.

Arnold Piper is eighty five and an ex-marine. He served in Korea and is now seeing out his last years in Mercy House. He hasn’t been able to move much for a long time but suddenly he feels fitter. He can move more. He is getting some life back in his old bones.

Something is in the air. No one is quite sure what it is but when it starts to affect the residents in ways that no one could ever expect, it spells disaster for anyone unlucky enough to be staying in Mercy House, or even just visiting.

People are scared of clowns. People are scared of dolls. People are scared of balloons. I personally, have always had a fear of old people’s homes. I hate the feeling in them. I hate the smell in them. I’m almost sorry to say that I hate the people in them. This is due to the fact that they all seem to have given up. The homes are like the last waiting room before the resident’s just pop off upstairs or downstairs for good.

After reading Mercy House, I will never set foot in one again. I am even right now, looking at the one directly opposite my house with suspicion and fear.

Adam Cesare has written a book that is horrific in every way possible. It is wonderfully written to give you a crawling sensation up your spine with every word you read and one that stays with you long after you finish it. Let’s face it, an old peoples home wouldn’t be the place you would expect a horror book to be set. I mean what damage can old people do? You would be surprised.

Our main characters in this book stand out big and tall for varying reasons. Harriett is nuts. There is no doubt about that. Her son Don and his wife Nikki are doing the best they can for her. She doesn’t see it like that. When the “thing” happens her level of nuttiness multiplies by a million. She goes on a horrific rampage with only one mission. Get Nikki. Nikki herself has more to deal with than most in this story and her battle for survival shows a strength of character most people would not possess. Arnold Piper is cool. An ex-marine who still has what it takes to lead an army, comes to the fore in a way he thought had long left him. Sarah Campbell is a quiet, unassuming girl just out to do her job. She gets caught up in something she could never have imagined in all of her lifetime.

Mercy House is essentially a battle for survival, told from many different perspectives, both good and evil. It’s like a zombie book but there are no zombies. All characters are alive. Some of the residents more alive than they have been for years. I don’t want to give anything away of the plot but there is no escape. Some people are in total control and some people have no control. Some people are running for their lives and some want to end those lives. The frustrating thing for me was you have no idea why. Some call it “the healing” but I would have liked to have known more about what it actually was. This in no way takes away from the story though.

Trying to describe how horrific this is without giving away the story is nearly impossible. It is superb, edge of your seat stuff with blood, guts and gore a plenty. You can smell the fear. You can taste it. You can feel it.

Ever see House of 1000 Corpses? One of the greatest horror films ever made in my opinion. Rob Zombie absolutely killed me with that film. It was perfect.

Mr Zombie needs to get his hands on Mercy House and give it the same treatment. It has the same feel about it only times the horror by ten.

To summarise: Horror in an old people’s home. Palpable, tangible horror. It will grab you by the squidgies and not just squeeze them but rip them off and thrown them away. Super, perfectly paced writing with characters that fit like a glove and characters you just cannot fail to love and equally hate. You will jump, you will cringe, and you will even laugh. Do not read whilst eating and make sure you have someone close by to give you a hug when you’re finished with it.

General rating:

★★★★★ Can't give it any less.

Horror rating:

★★★★★ You want horror? Buy this.

You can buy Mercy House here:

Book Synopsis:

Welcome to Mercy House, a state-of-the-art retirement home that appears perfectly crisp, clean, and orderly . . . but nothing could be farther from the truth. In Adam Cesare’s thrilling novel, the residents will find little mercy—only a shocking eruption of unfathomable horror.

Harriet Laurel notices the odour at Mercy House as soon as she sets foot inside, brought there against her will by her son, Don, and his wife, Nikki. In the early stages of dementia, Harriet has grown resentful of Nikki, blaming her daughter-in-law for failing to supply grandchildren. Yet even Harriet must admit that her mind becomes clearer as soon as she crosses the threshold. If it wasn’t for that annoying smell.

Arnold Piper is an eighty-five-year-old ex-Marine, a proud man who has cared for himself his whole life. But no longer. Betrayed by his aging body, Arnold is learning that the trials he survived long ago in war-torn Korea pale beside the daily indignities of growing old. Little does he know that his greatest nightmares are still ahead of him.

Sarah Campbell is an idealistic nurse whose compassion has been stretched to the breaking point at the chronically understaffed facility that is Mercy House. But now Sarah’s list of unpleasant duties is about to take a terrifying turn. For something wicked is brewing in Mercy House. Something dark and rotten . . . and deadly.

Adam Cesare is a New Yorker who lives in Philadelphia. He studied English and Film at Boston University.

His stories have been featured in numerous publications, including Shroud Magazine, while his nonfiction has appeared in Paracinema, Fangoria and other venues.

You can see more of Adam at his website.

Adam’s author page is here.

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