Review of ‘Bellevue’ by C.S. Alleyne
Crystal Lake Publishing, pb, £9.54
Reviewed by Mikaela Silk
‘Bellevue’ features two storylines running side by side, exploring the stories that take place at Bellevue across two different time periods. The 19th century Bellevue takes the form of a corrupt mental asylum where Ellen has been incarcerated by her sister Mary’s manipulations. In the 21st century Claire is living in the newly renovated Bellevue apartments, but could they be haunted by the terrible things that happened there in the past?
At first this does seem to be the case, but the latter part of the book takes on a darker tone in which more sinister insinuations arise. This darker tone is achieved with effective pacing throughout the novel, which causes the tension and horror levels to gradually mount up until they reach a deafening crescendo, the height of which I found too gruesome for my preference.
The book contains a large variety of characters and I think every reader will end up having a different favourite. Mine was Ellen, whose vulnerable character was constantly contrasted against the more confident and brash character of Mary. I was also intrigued by the scholarly portrayal of Alex and the vaguely obsessive aspects of his character. However, I found the overall character cast of the 21st century storyline a bit stereotypically portrayed, such as the alcohol obsessed students, typically rowdy male friendship group, and the chubby best friend trope.
The pseudo-historical content which gave background to Bellevue and to the Mephisto Club was the most interesting part of the novel for me. It added a darkly creative edge to the narrative, although it did unravel somewhat near the end when these older ideas were reinfused into the modern day storyline.
Overall, this book was not for me. But if you like hard horror and a growing mystery then it is definitely worth a read.