Reviews > Published on June 10th, 2015

Bookshots: 'Mercy House' by Adam Cesare

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


Mercy House

Who wrote it?

This is extreme horror at its best, so don't step into this book with an uneasy stomach. You must wait sixty minutes after eating before opening up 'Mercy House'.

Adam Cesare, author of The Summer Job, among various other horror novels currently haunting the shadows.

Plot in a box:

The residents of a senior citizen facility go batshit crazy and begin murdering those younger than them. 

Invent a new title for this book:

The Healing; Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Smell of Old People

Read this if you liked:

Anything by Jack Ketchum or Wrath James White.

Meet the book's lead(s):

Nikki, daughter-in-law of Harriet, an elderly woman being introduced to Mercy House when everybody goes crazy. Also thrown in you will find an ex-Marine named Arnold and a nurse named Sarah. Can they survive Mercy House? CAN THEY?

Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:

For Nikki, I think Rosario Dawson would be perfect. Her violent mother-in-law would be played by Ellen Burstyn, Arnold would obviously be Clint Eastwood, and Sarah...maybe Tatiana Maslany? Okay, fair warning, I want Tatiana Maslany to be in every movie.

Setting: Would you want to live there?

The book takes place in Mercy House, an old folks' home. Hell no I wouldn't want to live there. Who would?

The Verdict:

Adam Cesare has a gift for crafting horror novels that feel like direct-to-video masterpieces. I'm not talking about B-Movies with shitty plots and even shittier performances. I'm referring to those gifts you discover hiding behind next to the VHS digital selection of Friday the 13th at on Blockbuster Video Netflix. You dig the art on the cover so you take it home click play, figuring what the hell, might be worth a laugh or two while drinking with your buddies crying silently, alone forever. Only it sucks you in almost immediately and you forget all about your friends the disease eating you from the inside. 

Cesare's writing style is seeping with shocking visuals and graphic suggestions. Given the setting of the book, it's inevitable Mercy House will be compared to Bubba Ho-Tep. And that's fair. Both stories are quirky in their own ways, although I will argue that Mercy House reads more as a horror novel than a comedy, despite its ridiculous plot. Mercy House is heavy in gore and lunacy. This is extreme horror at its best, so don't step into this book with an uneasy stomach. You must wait sixty minutes after eating before opening up Mercy House.

About the author

Max Booth III is the CEO of Ghoulish Books, the host of the GHOULISH and Dog Ears podcasts, the co-founder of the Ghoulish Book Festival, and the author of several spooky books, including Abnormal Statistics, Maggots Screaming!, Touch the Night, and others. He wrote both the novella and film versions of We Need to Do Something, which was released by IFC Midnight in 2021 and can currently be streamed on Hulu. He was raised in Northwest Indiana and now lives in San Antonio.

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