Book Review: MERCY HOUSE by Adam Cesare

From the book description on Amazon:

Welcome to Mercy House, a state-of-the-art retirement home that appears perfectly crisp, clean, and orderly . . . but Mercy Housenothing 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.


I wrote a brief and hurried review of Adam Cesare’s MERCY HOUSE over on Amazon , but I wanted to revisit it here and take a little more time because it deserves the attention. When I first read the synopsis for MERCY HOUSE I thought the premise sounded ridiculous. I mean, how could a building full of mostly invalid geriatrics be even remotely frightening? Awkward maybe, but not scary. Boy was I wrong. Adam Cesare is at the top of his game here and MERCY HOUSE is not just scary, it’s absolutely terrifying.

Nikki and Don Laurel are taking Harriet, Don’s mother, to Mercy House, a huge old mansion that’s been converted into a nursing home. Harriet despises Nikki and believes that Nikki is the reason she’s being forced into the nursing home.

Arnold Piper is an eighty-five year old veteran of the Korean war and a resident at Mercy House. On the morning of the day that the Laurels arrive, Arnold awakes to discover two things. First, there is the strange and unpleasant smell in the air that none of the staff seems to notice. Second, his aging body feels stronger than it has in a long time.

As the story commences, Nikki, Don, and Harriet are sitting down for a welcome dinner with some of the staff and residents of Mercy House. That’s when the shit–and blood, guts, and soul warping terror–hits the fan with a vengeance. The residents of Mercy House and the unfortunate visitors are plunged into an inescapable nightmare orgy of wanton debauchery and brutality.

Here you will find plenty of violence, gore, and even some twisted geriatric sex, but none of it is frivolous or gratuitous. Each sentence, paragraph and scene serves to move the narrative along at a frenetic pace that will leave you breathless, shaky, and jonesing for more. This is hardcore horror at it’s extreme best and, while Cesare’s previous offerings were definitely worth the read, he demonstrates a level of maturity and confidence that were not present before. Mercy House is a damn good book and I highly recommend it to dedicated horror fans. It’s packed with action, surreal humor and solid characters that are so well developed they practically jump off the page. All in all, an immensely fun and satisfying read. If you like writers like Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, and Edward Lee, this book is right up your alley. You can purchase it right here.

Published by: Hydra

About the author: 

Adam Cesare is a New Yorker who lives in Philadelphia. He studied English and film at Boston University. His previous books include VIDEO NIGHT, THE SUMMER JOB, THE FIRST ONE YOU EXPECT, ZERO LIVES REMAINING, and TRIBESMEN. His nonfiction has appeared in Paracinema, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and other venues. Learn more about Adam and his work at and follow him on twittter.


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